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Full text of "The case for India : presidential address to the Indian National Congress at its thirty-second annual session, Calcutta, December 26, 1917"

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^B 2^1 ^5° 




JUL 10 1913 


26. 1917. 






^< H E Thirty-second Annual 
^^ Session of India's great 
popular assembly, the Indian 
National Congress was held at 
Calcutta, Dec. 26, 1917. 

Nearly five thousand delegates 
attended from all parts of India, 
and there were sixteen thousand 
people present in all. 

Sir Rabindranath Tagore com- 
posed and recited an ode for the 

Mrs. Besant delivered the 
presidential address to the en- 
thusiastic assembly. Her recom- 
rhendatioius' we're, adopted unani- 
m:o>i'$ly.' *: • . /. * '. 







Everyone who has preceded 
me in this Chair has rendered his thanks in fitting terms for the 
gift which is truly said to be the highest that India has it in 
her power to bestow. It is the sign of her fullest love, trust, 
and approval, and the one whom she seats in that chair is, for 
his year of service, her chosen leader. But if my predecessors 
found fitting words for their gratitude, in what words can I 
voice mine, whose debt to you is so overwhelmingly greater than 
theirs? For the first time in Congress history, you have chosen 
as your President one who, when your choice was made, was 
under the heavy ban of Government displeasure, and who lay 
interned as a person dangerous to public safety. While I was 
humiliated, you crowned me with honour; while I was slan- 
dered, you believed in my integrity and good faith; while I was 
crushed under the heel of bureaucratic power, you acclaimed 
me as your leader; while I was silenced and unable to defend 
myself, you defended me, and won for me release. I was proud 
to serve in lowliest fashion, but you lifted me up and placed me 
before the world as your chosen representative. I have no words 
with which to thank you, no eloquence with which to repay my 
debt. My deeds must speak for me, for words are too poor. I 
turn your gift into service to the Motherland; I consecrate my 
life anew to her in worship by action. All that I have and am, 
I lay on the Altai* of the Mother, and together we shall cry, 
more by service than by words: Vande ]Vl9,taram. 

There is, perhaps, one value in your election of me in this 
crisis of India's destiny, seeing that I have not the privilege to 
be Indian-born, but come from that little Island in the northern 
seas which has been, in the West, the builder up of free institu- 


tions. The Aryan einigrantsi who spread over the lands of 
Europe/c^rried, with" theni the seeds of liberty sown in their 
blood in their .Aai*n cx-adle-land. Western historians trace the 
self rule of the Saxon villages to their earlier prototypes in the 
East, and see the growth of English liberty as up springing 
from the Aryan root of the free and self-contained village 

Its growth was crippled by Norman feudalism there, as its 
millennia nourished security here was smothered by the East 
India Company. But in England it burst its shackles and nur- 
tured a liberty-loving people, and a free Commons' House. Here, 
it similarly burgeoned out into the Congress activities, and more 
recently into those of the Muslem League, now together blossom- 
ing into Home Rule for India. The England of Milton, Cromwell, 
Sydney, Burke, Paine, Shelley, Wilberforce, Gladstone; the Eng- 
land tliat sheltered Mazzini, Kossuth, Kropotkin, Siepniak, and 
that welcomed Garibaldi; the England that is the enemy of 
tyranny, the foe of autocracy, the lover of freedom, that is the 
England I would fain here represent to you today. Today when 
India stands erect, no suppliant people, but a Nation, self- 
conscious, self-respecting, determined to be free; when she 
stretches out her hand to Britain and offers friendship not sub- 
servience, co-operation not obedience; today let me, western 
born but in spirit eastern, cradled in England but Indian by 
choice and adoption, let me stand as the symbol of union be- 
tween Great Britain and India, a union of heart and free choice, 
not of compulsion, and therefore of a tie which cannot be 
broken, a tie of love and of mutual helpfulness, beneficial to 
both Nations and blessed by God. 

Gone to the Peace 
India's great leader, Dadabhai Naoroji, has left his mortal 
body and is now one of the company of the Immortals, who 
watch over and aid India's progress. He is with W. C. Bon- 
nerjee, and Ranade, and A. O. Hume, and Henry Cotton, and 
Paerozeshah Mehta, and Gopal Krishna Gokhale — the great men 
who, in Swinburne's noble verse, are the stars which lead us to 
Liberty's Altar: 

These, O men, shall ye honour. 

Liberty only and these. 
For thy sake and for all men's and mine. 
Brother, the crowns of them shine, 
Lighting the way to her shrine, 
That our eyes may be fastened upon her, 
That our hands may encompass her Jinees. 
Not for me to praise him in feeble words of reverence and of 
homage. His deeds praise him, and his service to his Country 
is his abiding glory. Our gratitude will be best paid by follow- 
ing in his footsteps, alike in his splendid courage and his un- 
faltering devotion, so that we may win the Home Rule which 

he longed to see while with us, and shall see, ere long, from the 
other world of Life, in which he dwells today. 

The Wae and Pbe-War Military Expenditure 
The Great War, into the whirlpool of which Nation after 
Nation has been drawn, has entered on its fourth year. The 
rigid censorship which has been established makes it impossible 
for any outside the circle of Governments to forecast its dura- 
tion, but to me, speaking for a moment not as a politician but 
as a student of spiritual laws, to me its end is sure. For the 
true object of this War is to prove the evil of, and to destroy 
autocracy and the enslavement of one Nation by another, and to 
place on sure foundations the God-given Right to Self-Rule and 
Self-Development of every Nation, and the similar right of the 
Individual, of the smaller Self, so far as is consistent with the 
welfare of the larger Self of the Nation. The forces which make 
for the prolongation of autocracy — the rule of one — and the even 
deadlier bureaucracy — the rule of a close body welded into an 
iron system — these have been gathered together in the Central 
Powers of Europe — as of old in Ravana — in order that they may 
be destroyed; for the New Age cannot be opened until the Old 
passes away. The new civilisation of righteousness, and justice, 
and therefore of Brotherhood, of ordered Liberty, of Peace, of 
Happiness, cannot be built up until the elements are removed 
which have brought the old civilisation crashing about '^our ears. 
Therefore is it necessary that the War shall be fought out to 
its appointed end, and that no premature peace shall leave its 
object unattained. Autocracy and bureaucracy must perish 
utterly, in East and West, and, in order that their germs may 
not re-sprout in the future, they must be discredited in the 
minds of men. They must be proved to be less efficient than 
the Government of Free Peoples, even in their favourite game of 
War and their iron machinery — which at first brings outer pros- 
perity and success — must be shown to be less lasting and effec- 
tive than the living and flexible organisations of democratic 
peoples. They must be proved Failures before, the world, so that 
the glamour of superficial successes may be destroyed forever. 
They have had their day and their place in evolution, and have 
done their educative work. Now they are out-of-date, unfit for 
survival, and must vanish away. 

When Great Britain sprang to arms, it was in defence of the 
freedom of a small Nation, guaranteed by treaties, and the great 
principles she proclaimed electrified India and the Dominions. 
They all sprang to her side without question, without delay; 
they heard the voice of old England, the soldier of Liberty, and 
it thrilled their hearts. All were unprepared, save the small 
territorial army of Great Britain, due to the genius and fore- 
sight of Lord Haldane, and the readily mobilized army of India, 
hurled into the fray by the swift decision of Lord Hardinge. 

The little army of Britain fought for time, fought to stop the 
road to Paris, the heart of France, fought, falling back step by 
step, and gained the time it fought for, till India's sons stood 
on the soil of France, were flung to the front, rushed past the 
exhausted regiments who cheered them with failing breath, 
charged the advancing hosts, stopped the retreat, and joined the 
British army in forming that unbreakable line which wrestled 
to the death through two fearful winters — often, these soldiers 
of the tropics, waist-deep in freezing mud — and knew no sur- 

India, with her clear vision, saw in Great Britain the cham- 
pion of Freedom, in Germany the champion of despotism. And 
she saw rightly. Rightly she stood by Great Britain, despite her 
own lack of freedom and the coercive legislation which out- 
rivalled German despotism, knowing these to be temporary, be- 
cause un-English, and therefore doomed to destruction; she 
spurned the lure of German gold and rejected German appeals 
to revolt. She offered men and money; her educated classes, her 
Vakils, offered themselves as Volunteers, pleaded to be accepted. 
Then the never-sleeping distrust of Anglo-India rejected the 
offer, pressed for money, rejected men. And, slowly, educated 
India sank back, depressed and disheartened, and a splendid op- 
portunity for knitting together the two Nations was lost. 

Early in the War I ventured to say that the War could not 
end untfl England recognised that autocracy and bureaucracy 
must perish in India as well as in Europe, The good Bishop of 
Calcutta, with a courage worthy of his free race, lately declared 
that it would be hypocritical to pray for victory over autocracy 
in Europe and to maintain it in India. Now, it has been clearly 
and definitely declared that Self-Government is to be the ob- 
jective of Great Britain in India, and that a substantial measure 
of it is to be given at once; when this promise is made good by 
the granting of the Reforms outlined last year in Lucknow, then 
the end of the War will be in sight. For the War cannot end 
till the death-knell of autocracy is sounded. 

Causes, with which I will deal presently and for which India 
was not responsible, have somewhat obscured the first eager 
expressions of India's sympathy, and have forced her thoughts 
largely towards her own position in the Empire. But that does 
not detract from the immense aid she has given, and is still 
giving. It must not be forgotten that long before the present 
War, she had submitted — at first, while she had no power of 
remonstrance, and later, after 1885, despite the constant pro- 
tests of Congress — to an ever-rising military expenditure, due 
partly to the amalgamation scheme of 1859, and partly to 
the cost of various Wars beyond her frontiers, and to continually 
recurring frontier and trans-frontier expeditions, in which she 
had no real interest. They were sent out for supposed Imperial 
advantages, not for her own. 

Between 1859 and 1904 — 45 years — Indian troops were engaged 
in thirty-seven wars and expeditions. There were ten Wars: the 
two Chinese Wars of 1860 and 1900, the Bhutan War of 1864-65, 
the Abyssinian War of 1868, the Afghan War of 1878-79, and, 
after the massacre of the Kabul Mission, the second War of 
1879-80, ending in an advance of the frontier, in the search for 
an ever receding "scientific frontier"; on this occasion the fron- 
tier was shifted, says Keene, "from the line of the Indus to the 
western slope of the Suleiman range and from Peshawar to 
Quetta," the Egyptian War of 1882, in which the Indian troops 
markedly distinguished themselves; the third Burmese War of 
1885 ending in the annexation of Upper Burma in 1886; the in- 
vasions of Tibet in 1890 and 1904. Of Expeditions, or minor 
Wars, there were 27; to Sitana in 1858 on a small scale and in 
1863 on a larger (the "Sitana Campaign"; to Nepal and Sikkim 
in 1859; to Sikkim in 1864; a serious struggle on the North- 
west Frontier in 1868; expeditions against the Lushais in 1871- 
72, the Defias in 1874-75, the Nagas in 1875, the Afridis in 1877, 
the Rampa Hill tribes in 1879, the Waziris and Nagas in 1881, 
the Akhas in 1884, and in the same year an expedition to the 
Zhob Valley, and a second thither in 1890. In 1888 and 89, 
there was another expedition against Sikkim, against the 
Akozais (the Black Mountain expedition) and against the Hill 
Tribes of the North East, and in 1890 another Black Mountain 
Expedition, with a third in 1892. In 1890 came the expedition to 
Manipur, and in 1891, there was another expedition against the 
Lushais, and one into the Miratzal Valley. The Central expedi- 
tion occupied 1894-95 and the serious Tirah Campaign, in which 
40,000 men were engaged, came in 1897 and 1898. The long 
list — which I have closed with 1904 — ends with the. expeditions 
against the Mahsuds in 1901, against the Kabalta in 1902, and 
the invasion of Tibet, before noted. All these events explain the 
rise in military expenditure, and we must add to them the send- 
ing of Indian troops to Malta and Cyprus in 1878 — a some- 
what theatrical demonstration — and the expenditure of some 
£2,000,000, to face what was described as "the Russian Menace" 
in 1884. Most of these were due to Imperial, not to Indian 
policy, and many of the burdens imposed were protested against 
by the Government of India, while others were encouraged by 
ambitious Viceroys. I do not think that even this long list is 

Ever since the Government of India was taken over by the 
Crown, India has been regarded as an Imperial military asset 
and training ground, a position from which the jealousy of the 
East India Company had largely protected her, by insisting that 
the army it supported should be used for the defence and in the 
interests of India alone. Her value to the Empire for military 
purposes would not so seriously have injured at once her pride 
and her finances, if the natural tendencies of her martial races 

had been permitted their previous scope; but the disarming of 
the people, 20 years after the assumption of the Government by 
the Crown, emasculated the Nation, and the elimination of races 
supposed to be unwarlike, or in some cases too warlike to be 
trusted, threw recruitment more and more to the north, and 
lowered the physique of the Bengalis and Madrasis, on whom the 
Company had largely depended. 

The superiority of the Punjab, on which Sir Michael O'Dwyer 
so vehemently insisted the other day, is an artificial superiority, 
created by the British system and policy; and poor recruitment 
elsewhere, on which he laid offensive insistence, is due to the 
same system and policy, which largely eliminated Bengalis, 
Madrasis and Mahrattas from the army. In Bengal, however, 
the martial type has been revived, chiefly in consequence of what 
the Bengalis felt to be the intolerable insult of the high-handed 
Partition of Bengal by Lord Curzon. On this Gopal Krishna 
Gokhale said: 

Bengal's heroic stand against the oppression of a harsh and uncontrolled 
bureaucracy has astonished and gratified all India .... All India 
owes a deep debt of gratitude to Bengal. 

The spirit evoked showed itself in the youth of Bengal by a 
practical revolt, led by the elders, while it was confined to 
Swadeshi and Boycott, and rushing on, when it broke away 
from their authority into conspiracy, assassination and dacoity — 
as had happened in similar revolts with young Italy, in the days 
of Mazzini, and with Young Russia in the days of Stepniak and 
Kropotkin. The results of their despair, necessarily met by the 
halter and penal servitude, had to be faced by Lord Hardinge 
and Lord Carmichael during the present War. Other results, 
happy instead of disastrous in their nature, was the development 
of grit and endurance of a high character, shown in the courage 
of the Bengal lads in the serious floods that have laid parts of 
the Province deep under water, and in their compassion and 
self sacriflce in the relief of famine. Their services in the 
present War — the Ambulance Corps and the replacement of its 
materiel when the ship carrying it sank, with the splendid serv- 
ices rendered by it in Mesopotamia; the recruiting of a Bengali 
regiment for active service, 900 strong, with another 900 re- 
serves to replace wastage, and recruiting still going on — these 
are instances of the divine alchemy which brings the soul of 
good out of evil action, and consecrates to service the qualities 
evoked by rebellion. 

In England, also, a similar result has been seen in a convict, 
released to go to the front, winning the Victoria Cross. It would 
be an act of statesmanship, as well as of divinest compassion, to 
offer to every prisoner and interned captive, held for political 
crime or on political suspicion, the opportunity of serving the 
Empire at the front. They might, if thought necessary, form a 
separate battalion or a separate regiment, under stricter super- 

vision, and yet be given a chance of redeeming their reputation, 
for they are mostly very young. 

The financial burden incurred in consequence of the above 
conflicts, and of other causes, now to be mentioned, would not 
have been so much resented, if it had been imposed by India on 
herself, and if her own sons had profited by her being used as 
a training ground for the Empire. But in this case, as in so 
many others, she has shared Imperial burdens, while not sharing 
Imperial freedom and power. Apart from this, the change which 
made the Army so ruinous a burden on the resources of the 
country was the system of "British reliefs," the using of India 
as a training ground for British regiments, and the transfer of 
the men thus trained, to be replaced by new ones under the 
short service system, the cost of the frequent transfers and their 
connected expenses being charged on the Indian revenues, while 
the whole advantage was reaped by Great Britain. On the short 
service system the Simla Army Commission declared: 

The short service system recently introduced into the British army has 
increased the cost and has materially reduced the efficiency of the British 
troops in India. We cannot resist the feeling that, in the introduction of 
this system, the interest of the Indian tax-payer was entirely left out of 

The remark was certainly justified, for the short service sys- 
tem gave India only five years of the recruit she paid heavily 
for and trained, all the rest of the benefit going to England. The 
latter was enabled, as the years went on, to enormously increase 
her Reserves, so that she has had 400,000 men trained in, and 
at the cost of India. 

In 1863 the Indian army consisted of 140,000 men, with 65,000 
white officers. Great changes were made in 1885-1905, including 
the reorganization under Lord Kitchener, who became Com- 
mander-in-Chief at the end of 1902. Even in this hasty review, 
I must not omit reference to the fact that Army Stores were 
drawn from Britain at enormous cost, while they should have 
been chiefiy manufactured here, so that India might have 
profited by the expenditure. Lately, under the necessities of 
War, factories have been turned to the production of munitions; 
but this should have been done long ago, so that India might 
have been enriched instead of exploited. The War has forced 
an investigation into her mineral resources, that might have 
been made for her own sake, but Germany was allowed to mon- 
opolise the supply of minerals that India could have produced 
and worked up, and would have produced and worked up had 
she enjoyed Home Rule. India would have been richer, and the 
Empire safer, had she been a partner instead of a posssseion. But 
this side of the question will come under the matters directly 
affecting merchants, and we may venture to express a hope that 
the Government help, extended to munition factories in time of 
War, may be continued to industrial factories in time of Peace. 

The net result of the various causes above mentioned was that 
the expense of the Indian army rose by leaps and bounds, until, 
before the War, India was expending £21,000,000 as against the 
£28,000,000 expended by the United Kingdom, while the wealthy 
Dominions of Canada and Australia were spending only li/^ and 
li/i millions, respectively. (I am not forgetting that the United 
Kingdom was expending over £51,000,000 on her Navy, while 
India was free of that burden, save for a contribution of half a 

Since 1885, the Congress has constantly protested against the 
ever-increasing military expenditure, but the voice of the Con- 
gress was supposed to be the voice of sedition and of class am- 
bition, instead of being, as it was, the voice of educated Indians, 
the most truly patriotic and loyal class of the population. In 
1885 in the First Congress Mr. P. Rangiah Naidu pointed out 
that military expenditure had been £11,463,000 in 1857 and had 
risen to £16,975,750 in 1884. Mr. D. E. Wacha ascribed the 
growth to the amalgamation scheme of 1859, and remarked that 
the Company in 1856 had an army of 254,000 men at a cost of 
111^ millions, while in 1884, the Crown had an army of only 
181,000 men at a cost of 17 millions. The rise was largely due 
to the increased cost of the European regiments, overland trans- 
port service, stores, pensions, furlough allowances, and the like, 
most of them imposed against the resistance of the Government 
of India, which complained that the changes were "made en- 
tirely, it may be said, from Imperial considerations, in which 
Indian interests have not been consulted or advanced. India 
paid nearly £700,000 a year, for instance, for "Home Depots," 
Home being England of course^ — in which lived some 20,000 to 
22,000 British soldiers, on the plea that their regiments, not 
they, were serving in India. I cannot follow out the many in- 
creases cited by Mr. Wacha, but members can refer to his ex- 
cellent speech. 

Mr. Fawcett once remarked that when the East India Com- 
pany was abolished. 

The English people became directly responsible for the Government of 
India. It cannot, I think, be denied that this responsibility has been so 
imperfectly discharged that in many respects the new system of Govern- 
ment compares unfavourably with the old There was at that 

time an independent control of expenditure which now seems to be almost 
entirely wanting. 

Shortly after the Crown assumed the rule of India, Mr. Dis- 
raeli asked the House of Commons to regard India as "a great 
and solemn trust committed to it by an all-wise and inscrutible 
Providence." Mr. George Yule, in the Fourth Congress, re- 
marked on this: "The 650 odd members had thrown the trust 
back upon the hands of Providence, to be looked after as Provi- 
dence itself thinks best." Perhaps it is time that India should 
remember that Providence helps those who help themselves. 


Year after year the Congress continued to remonstrate against 
the cost of the army, until in 1902, after all the futile protests 
of the intervening years, it condemned an increase of pay to 
British soldiers in India which placed an additional burden on 
Indian revenues of £786,000 a year, and pointed out that the 
British garrison was unnecessarily numerous, as was shown by 
the withdrawal of large bodies of British soldiers for service in 
South Africa and China. The very next year Congress pro- 
tested that the increasing military expenditure was not to secure 
India against internal disorder or external attack, but in order 
to carry out an Imperial policy; the Colonies contributed little 
or nothing to the Imperial Military Expenditure, while India 
bore the cost of about one third of the whole British Army in 
addition to her own Indian troops. Surely, these facts should 
be remembered when India's military services to the Empire are 
now being weighed. 

In 1904 and 1905, the Congress declared that the then military 
expenditure was beyond India's power to bear, and in the latter 
year prayed that the additional ten millions sterling, sanctioned 
for Lord Kitchener's reorganisation scheme, might be devoted to 
education and the reduction of the burden on the raiyats. In 
1908, the burdens imposed by the British War OflEice since 1859 
were condemned, and in the next year it was pointed out that 
the military expenditure was nearly a third of the whole Indian 
revenue, and was starving Education and Sanitation. 

Lord Kitchener's reorganisation scheme kept the Indian Army 
on a War footing, ready for immediate mobilisation, and on 
January 1, 1915, the regular army consisted of 247,000 men, of 
whom 75,000 were English; it was the money spent by India in 
maintaining this army for years in readiness for War, which 
made it possible for her to go to the help of Great Britain at 
the critical early period to which I alluded. She spent over £20 
millions on the military services in 1914-15. In 1915-16 she spent 
£21.8 millions. In 1916-17 her military budget had risen to £22 
millions, and it will be largely exceeded. 

On this excess, the Viceroy has spoken very ominously. For 
the Indian War Loan (excluding Treasury Bills received in Eng- 
land) no less than £32 millions sterling have been received and 
more is coming in. The proceeds of the Loan go to the British 
Government in London, as part of India's special contribution 
of £100 millions. They have been utilised to meet War expendi- 
ture in India and Mesopotamia on behalf of the British Govern- 
ment. But the Governor-General says: 

This War expenditure will greatly exceed the amount allowed for the 
budget estimates, which were based on the best data then available, and 
we now expect that the excess will practically swallow up the whole of 
the amounts so far received on account of the Indian War t-oan, over and 
above the £10 millions assumed in the estimate for budget purposes. 
. . . . India Is the financial pivot of the British Empire in the East 

Thus, apart from the expenditure in India and Mesopotamia to which I 
have just referred, she is also undertaking the financing of large quan- 
tities of wheat, jute, manufactures, hides and numerous other essential 
commodities, which she is supplying to Great Britain, to the Dominions 
and to the Allied Governments. She is also providing funds on a con- 
siderable scale fo East Africa and Persia, and has had on various occa- 
sions to assist Ceylon, Mauritius and Egypt by remittance of specie and 
otherwise ; of course, we receive repayment for these services, but as it is 
not made in India they necessarily constitute a continuing tax on our 
present resources here (italics mine). 

The taxes levied to meet the calculated deficit will by no 
means suffice to fill up the great gulf now yawning before us. 
On whom will those taxes be levied? It is not unlikely that 
those Zamindars who have been allying themselves with officials 
and English non-officials against their countrymen, may find 
themselves disappointed in their allies, and may begin to realise 
by personal experiences the necessity o*f giving to Indian legis- 
latures, in which they will be fully represented, control over 
National expenditure. 

Lord Hardinge, the last Viceroy of India, who is ever held in 
loving memory here for his sympathetic attitude towards Indian 
aspirations, made a masterly exposition of India's War services 
in the House of Lords on the third of last July, He emphasised 
her pre- War services, showing that, though 19 14 millions ster- 
ling' was fixed as a maximum by the Nicholson Committee, that 
amount had been exceeded in 11 out of the last 13 budgets, while 
his own last budget had risen to 22 millions. During these 13 
years the revenue had been only between 48 and 58 millions, 
once rising to 60 millions. Could any fact speak more eloquently 
of India's War services than this proportion of military expendi- 
ture compared with her revenue? 

The Great War began on August 4th, and in that very month 
and in the early part of September, India sent an Expeditionary 
force of three divisions — two infantry and one cavalry — and 
another cavalry division joined them in Prance in November. 
The first arrived, said Lord Hardinge, "in time to fill a gap that 
could not otherwise have been filled." He added pathetically: 
"There are very few survivors of those two splendid divisions 
of infantry." Truly, their homes are empty, but their sons shall 
enjoy in India the liberty for which their fathers died in France. 
Three more divisions were at once sent to guard the Indian 
frontier, while in September a mixed division was sent to East 
Africa, and in October and November two more divisions and 
a brigade of cavalry went to Egypt. A battalion of Indian in- 
fantry went to Mauritius, another to the Cameroons, and two 
to the Persian Gulf, while other Indian troops helped the Jap- 
anese in the capture of Tsingtau. 210,000 Indians were thus 
sent overseas. The whole of these troops were fully armed and 
equipped, and in addition, during the first few weeks of the 
War, India sent to England from her magazines "70 million 


rounds of small arm ammunition, 60,000 rifles, and more than 
550 guns of the latest pattern and type." 

In addition to these, Lord Hardinge speaks of sending to 

enormous quantities of material, .... tents, boots, saddlery, 
clothing, etc., but every effort was made to meet the ever-increasing de- 
mands made by the War OflBce, and it may be stated, without exaggeration, 
that India was bled absolutely white during the first few weeks of the 

It must not be forgotten, though. Lord Hardinge has not 
reckoned it, the all wastage has been more than fitted up, and 
450,000 men represent this need; the increase in units has been 
300,000 and including other military items, India had placed in 
the field up to the end of 1916 over a million of men. 

In addition to this a British force of 80,000 was sent from 
India, fully trained and equipped at Indian cost, India receiving 
in exchange, many months later, 34 Territorial battalions and 
29 batteries, "unfit for immediate employment on the frontier 
or in Mesopotamia, until they had been entirely re-armed and 
equipped, and their training completed." 

Between the autumn of 1914 and the close of 1915, the defence 
of our own frontiers was a serious matter, and Lord Hardinge 

The attitude of Afghanistan was for a long time doubtful, although I 
always had confidence in the personal loyalty of our ally the Amir ; but I 
feared lest he might be overwhelmed by a wave of fanaticism, or by a 
successful Jehad of the tribes It suffices to mention that, al- 
though during the previous three years there had been no operations of 
any importance on the North-West Frontier, there were, between Nov. 29, 
1914, and Sept. 5, 1915. no less than seven serious attacks on the North- 
West Frontier, all of which were effectively dealt with. 

The military authorities had also to meet a German conspiracy 
early in 1915. 7,000 men arriving from Canada and the United 
States, having planned to seize points of military vantage in the 
Punjab, and in December of the same year another German con- 
spiracy in Bengal, necessitating military preparations on land, 
and also naval patrols in the Bay of Bengal. 

Lord Hardinge has been much attacked by the Tory and 
Unionist Press in England and India, in England because of the 
Mesopotamia Report, in India because his love for India brought 
him hatred from Anglo-India. India has affirmed her confidence 
in him, and with India's verdict he may well rest satisfied. 

I do not care to dwell on the Mesopotamia Commission and 
its condemnation of the bureaucratic system prevailing here. 
Lord Ha^rdinge vindicated himself and India. The bureaucratic 
system remains undefended. I recall that bureaucratic inefficiency 
came out in even more startling fashion in connection with the 
Afghan war of 1878-79 and 1879-80. In February, 1880, the War 
charges were reportd as under £4 millions, and the accounts 
showed a surplus of £2 millions. On April 8th, the Government 
of India reported: "Out-going for War very alarming, far ex- 


deeding estimate," and on the 13th of April It was announced 
that the cash balances had fallen in three months from thirteen 
crores to less than nine, owing to 'excessive Military drain.' 
.... On the following day (April 22) a despatch was sent 
out to the Viceroy, showing that there appeared a deficiency of 
not less than 5 1^4 crores. This vast error was evidently due to 
underestimate of War liabilities, which had led to such mis- 
information being laid before Parliament, and to the sudden dis- 
covery of inability to "meet the usual drawings." 

It seemed that the Government knew only the amount audited, 
not the amount spent. Payments were entered as "advances," 
though they were not recoverable, and "the great negligence was 
evidently that of the heads of departmental accounts." If such 
a mishap should occur under Home Rule, a few years hence — • 
which heaven forbid — I shudder to think of the comments of the 
Englishman and the Madras Mail on the shocking inefficiency of 
Indian officials. In September last, our present Viceroy, H. E. Lord 
Chelmsford, defended India against later attacks by critics who 
try to minimize her sacrifices in order to lessen the gratitude felt 
by Great Britain towards her, lest that gratitude should give 
birth to justice, and justice should award freedom to India. Lord 
Chelmsford placed before his Council "in studiously considered 
outline, a summary of what India has done during the past two 
years." Omitting his references to what was done under Lord 
Hardinge, as stated above, I may quote from him: 

On the outbreak of War of the 4,598 British officers on the Indian es- 
tablishment, 530 who were at Home on leave were detained by the War 
Office for service in Europe. 2,600 combatant Officers have been with- 
drawn from India since the beginning of the War, excluding those who 
proceeded on service with their batteries or regiments. In order to make 
good these deficiencies and provide for War wastage the Indian Army Re- 
serve of Officers was expanded from a total of 40, at which it stood on 
the 4th August, 1914, to one of 3,000. 

The establishment of Indian units has not only been kept up 
to strength, but has been considerably increased. There has 
been an augmentation of 20 per cent in the cavalry and of 40 
per cent in the infantry, while the number of recruits enlisted 
since the beginning of the War is greater than the entire strength 
of the Indian Army as it existed on the 4th August, 1914. Lord 
Chelmsford rightly pointed out: 

The Army in India has thus proved a great Imperial asset, and in 
weighing the value of India's contribution to the War, it should be re- 
membered that India's forces were no hasty improvisation, but were an 
army in being fully equipped and supplied, which had previously cost 
India annually a large sum to maintain. 

Lord Chelmsford has established what he calls a "Man-Power 
Board," the duty of which is "to collect and co-ordinate all the 
facts, with regard to the supply of man-power in India." It has 
branches in all the Provinces. A steady flow of reinforcements 
Bupplies the wastage at the various fronts, and the labour re- 
quired for engineering, transport, etc., is now organised in 20 


corps in Mesopotamia and 25 corps in Prance. In addi- 
tion, 60,000 artisans, labourers and specialists are serving 
in Mesopotamia and East Africa, and some 20,000 menials 
and followers have also gone overseas. Indian medical 
practitioners have accepted temporary commissions in the 
Indian Medical Service to the number of 500. In 
view of this fact, due to Great Britain's bitter need of help, may 
we not hope that this Service will welcome Indians in time of 
peace as well as in time of War, and will no longer bar the way 
by demanding the taking of a degree in the United Kingdom? 
It is also worthy of notice that the I. M. S. Officers in charge of 
district duties have been largely replaced by Indian medical 
men; this, again, should continue after the War. Another fact, 
that the Army Reserve of Officers has risen from 40 to 3,000 
suggests that the throwing open of King's Commission to quali- 
fied Indians should not be represented by a meagre nine. If 
English lads of 19 and 20 are worthy of King's Commissions — 
and the long roll of slain Second Lieutenants proves it — then 
certainly Indian lads, since Indians have fought as bravely as 
Englishmen, should find the door thrown open to them equally 
widely in their own country, and the Indian Army should be led 
by Indian officers. 

With such a record of deeds as the one I have baldly sketched, 
it is not necessary to say much in words as to India's support of 
Great Britain and her Allies. She has proved up to the hilt her 
desire to remain within the Empire, to maintain her tie with 
Great Britain. But if Great Britain is to call successfully on 
her man-power, as Lord Chelmsford suggests in his Man-Power 
Board, then must the man who fights or labours have a man's 
Rights in his own land. The lesson which springs out of this 
War is that it is absolutely necessary for the future safety of 
the Empire that India shall have Home Rule. Had her Man- 
Power been utilised earlier there would have been no War, for 
none would have dared to provoke Great Britain and India to a 
contest. But her Man-Power cannot be utilised while she is a 
subject Nation. She cannot afford to maintain a large army, if 
she is to support an English garrison, to pay for their goings 
and comings, to buy stores in England at exorbitant prices and 
send them back again when England needs them. She cannot 
afford to train men for England, and only have their services 
for five years. She cannot afford to keep huge Gold Reserves in 
England, and be straightened for cash, while she lends to 
England out of her Reserves, taken from her over-taxation, 
£27,000,000 for War expenses, and this, be it remembered, before 
the great War Loan. I once said in England: "The condition 
of India's loyalty is India's freedom." I may now add: "The 
condition of India's usefulness to the Empire is India's free- 
dom." She will tax herself willingly when her taxes remain in 
the country and fertilise it, when they educate her people and 


thus increase their productive power, when they foster her trade 
and create for her new industries. 

Great Britain needs India as much as India needs England, 
for prosperity in Peace as well as for safety in War. Mr. 
Montagu has wisely said that "for equipment in War a Nation 
needs freedom in Peace." Therefore I say that, for both coun- 
tries alike, the lesson of the War is Home Rule for India. 

Let me close this part of my subject by laying at the feet of 
His Imperial Majesty the loving homage of the thousands here 
assembled, with the hope and belief that, ere long, we shall lay 
there the willing and grateful homage of a free Nation. 

Causes of the New Spirit in India 
Apart from the natural exchange of thought between East and 
West, the influence of English education, literature and ideals, 
the effect of travel in Europe, Japan and the United States of 
America, and other recognised causes for the changed outlook 
in India, there have been special fopces at work during the last 
few years to arouse a New Spirit in India, and to alter her atti- 
tude of mind. These may be summed up as: 

(a) The Awakening of Asia. 

(b) Discussions abroad on Alien Rule and Imperial Reconstruction. 

(c) Loss of Belief in the Superiority of the White Races, 
(a) The Awakening of the Merchants. 

(e) The Awakening of the Women to claim their Ancient Position. 

(f) The Awakening of the Masses. 

Each of these causes has had its share in the splendid change 
of attitude in the Indian Nation, in the uprising of a spirit of 
pride of country, of independence, of self-reliance, of dignity, of 
self-respect. The War has quickened the rate of evolution of 
the world, and no country has experienced the quickening more 
than our Motherland. 

(a) The Awakening of Asia 

In a conversation I had with Lord Minto, soon after his ar- 
rival as Viceroy, he discussed the so-called "unrest in India," 
and recognised it as the inevitable result of English Education, 
of English Ideals of Democracy, of the Japanese victory over 
Russia, and of the changing conditions in the outer world. I 
was, therefore, not surprised to read his remark that he recog- 
nised, "frankly and publicly, that new aspirations were stirring 
in the hearts of the people, that they were part of a larger move- 
meht common to the whole East, and that it was necessary to 
satisfy them to a reasonable extent by giving them a larger 
share in the administration." 

But the present movement in India will be very poorly under- 
stood, if it be regarded only in connection with the movement 
in the East. The awakening of Asia is part of a world-move- 
ment, which has been uqickened into marvelous rapidity by the 
world-War. The world-movement is towards Democracy, and 


for the West dates from the breaking away of the American 
Colonies from Great Britain, ^consummated in 1776, and its sequel 
in the French Revolution of 1789. Needless to say that its root 
was in the growth of modern science, undermining the fabric of 
intellectual servitude, in the work of the Encyclopaedists, and 
in that of Jean Jacques Rousseau and of Thomas Paine. In the 
East, the swift changes in Japan, the success of the Japanese 
Empire against Russia, the downfall of the Manchu dynasty in 
China and the establishment of a Chinese Republic, the efforts 
at improvement in Persia, hindered by the interference of 
Russia and Great Britain with her growing ambition, and the 
creation of British and Russian "spheres of influence," depriving 
her of her just liberty, and now the Russian Revolution and the 
probable rise of a Russian Republic in Europe and Asia, have 
all entirely changed the conditions before existing in India. 
Across Asia, beyond the Himalayas, stretch free and self-ruling 
Nations. India no longer sees as her Asian neighbours the huge 
domains of a Tsar and a Chinese despot, and compares her con- 
dition under British rule with those of their subject populations. 
British rule profited by the comparison, at least until 1905, when 
the great period of repression set in. But in future, unless India 
wins Self-Government, she will look enviously at her Self- 
Governing neighbours, and the contrast will intensify her unrest. 

But even if she gains Home Rule, as I believe she will, her 
position in the Empire will imperatively demand that she shall 
be strong as well as free. She becomes not only a vulnerable 
point in the Empire, as the Asian Nations evolve their own am- 
bitions and rivalries, but also a possession to be battled for. 
Mr. Laing once said: "India is the milch cow of England," a 
Kamadhenu, in fact, a cow of plenty; and if that view should 
arise in Asia, the ownership of the milch cow would become a 
matter of dispute, as of old between Vashishta and Vishvamitra. 
Hence India must be capable of self-defence both by land and 
sea. There may be a struggle for the primary of Asia, for 
supremacy in the Pacific, for the mastery of Australasia, to say 
nothing of the inevitable trade-struggles, in which Japan is al- 
ready endangering Indian industry and Indian trade, while India 
is unable to protect herself. 

In order to face these larger issues with equanimity, the Em- 
pire requires a contented, strong, self-dependent and armed India, 
able to hold her own and to aid the Dominions, especially Aus- 
tralia, with her small population and immense unoccupied and 
undefended area. India alone has the man-power which can 
effectively maintain the Empire in Asia, and it is a short- 
sighted, a criminally short-sighted, policy not to build up her 
strength as a Self-Governing State within the Commonwealth of 
Free Nations under the British Crown. The Englishmen in India 
talk loudly of their interests; what can this mere handful do 
to protect their interests against attack in the coming years? 


Only, in a free and powerful India will they be safe. Those who 
read Japanese papers know how strongly, even during the War, 
they parade unchecked their pro-German sympathies and now 
likely after the War is an alliance between these two ambitious 
and warlike Nations. Japan will come out of the War with her 
army and navy unweakened, and her trade immensely strength- 
ened. Every consideration of sane statesmanship should lead 
Great Britain to trust India more than Japan, so that the British 
Empire in Asia may rest on the sure foundation of Indian 
loyalty, the loyalty of a free and contended people, rather than 
be dependent on the continued friendship of a possible future 
rival. For international friendships are governed by National 
interests, and are built on quicksands, not on rock. 

Englishmen in India must give up the idea that English 
dominance is necessary for the protection of their interests, 
amounting, in 1915, to £365,399,000 sterling. They do not 
claim to dominate the UnifSn States of America, because they 
have invested there £688,078,000. They do not claim to dominate 
the Argentine Republic, because they have invested there 
£269,808,000. Why then should they claim to dominate India on 
the ground of their investment? Britons must give up the idea 
that India is a possession to be exploited for their own benefit, 
and must see her as a friend, an equal, a Self-Governing Dom- 
inion within the Empire, a Nation like themse'lves, a willing 
partner in the Empire, and not a dependent. The democratic 
movement in Japan, China and Russia in Asia has sympathet- 
ically affected India, and it is idle to pretend that it will cease 
to affect her. 

(d) Discussions Abroad on Alien Rule and Reconstruction 

But there are other causes which have been working in India, 
consequent on the British attitude against autocracy and in de- 
fence of freedom in Europe, while her attitude to India has, 
until lately, been left in doubt. Therefore I spoke of a splendid 
opportunity lost. India at first believed whole-heartedly that 
Great Britain was fighting for the freedom of all Nationalities. 
Even now, Mr. Asquith declared — in his speech in the House of 
Commons reported here last October, on the peace resolution of 
Mr. Ramsay Macdonald — that "the Allies are fighting for nothing 
but freedom, and, an important addition — for nothing short of 
freedom." In his speech declaring that Britain would stand by 
France in her claim for the restoration of Alsace Lorraine, he 
spoke of "the intolerable degradation of a foreign yoke." Is 
such a yoke less intolerable, less wounding to self respect, here 
than in Alsace Lorraine, where the rulers and the ruled are 
both of European blood, similar in religion and habits? As the 
War went on India slowly and unwillingly came to realise that 
the hatred of autocracy was confined to autocracy in the West, 


and that the degradation was only regarded as intolerable for 
men of white races; that freedom was lavishly promised to all 
except to India; that new powers were to be given to the Dom- 
inions, but not to India. India was markedly left out of the 
speeches of statesmen dealing with the future of the Empire, 
and at last there was plain talk of the White Empire, the Em- 
pire of the Five Nations, and the "coloured races" were lumped 
together as the wards of the White Empire, doomed to an in- 
definite minority. 

The peril was pressing; the menace unmistakable. The recon- 
struction of the Empire was on the anvil; what was to be India's 
place therein? The Dominions were proclaimed as partners; 
was India to remain a Dependency? Mr. Bonar Law bade the 
Dominions strike while the iron was hot; was India to wait till 
it was cold? India saw her soldiers fighting for freedom in 
Flanders, in France, in Gallipoli, in Asia Minor, in China, in 
Africa; was she to have no share of the freedom for which she 
fought? At last she sprang to her feet and cried, in the words 
of one of her noblest sons: "Freedom is my birthright; and I 
want it." The words "Home Rule" became her Mantram. She 
claimed her place in the Empire. 

Thus, while she continued to support and even to increase, 
her army abroad, fighting for the Empire, and poured out her 
treasures as water for Hospital Ships, War Funds, Red Cross 
Organisations, and the gigantic War Loan, a dawning fear op- 
pressed her, lest, if she did not take order with her own house- 
hold, success in the War for the Empire might mean decreased 
liberty for herself. 

The recognition of the right of the Indian Government to 
make its voice heard in Imperial matters, when they were under 
discussion in an Imperial Conference, was a step in the right 
direction. But disappointment was felt that, while other coun- 
tries were represented by responsible Ministers, the representa- 
tion in India's case was of the Government, of a Government 
irresponsible to her, and not the representative of herself. No 
fault was found with the choice itself, but only with the non- 
representative character of the chosen, for they were selected by 
the Government, and not by the elected members of the Supreme 
Council. This defect in the resolution moved by the Hon. Khan 
Bahadur M. M. Shafi on October 2, 1915, was pointed out by the 
Hon, Mr, Surendranath Bannerji, He said: 

My Lord, in view of a situation so full of hope and promise, it seems 
to me that my friend's Resolution does not go far enough. He pleads for 
official representation at the Imperial Conference ; he does not plead for 
popular representation. He urges that an address be presented to His 
Majesty's Government, through the Secretary of State for India, for 
official representation at the Imperial Council. My Lord, official repre- 
sentation may mean little or nothing. It may indeed be attended with 
some risk ; for I am sorry to have to say — but say it I must — that our 
officials do not always see eye to eye with us as regards many great public 


questions which aflfect this country ; and indeed their views, judged from 
our standpoint, may sometimes seem adverse to our interests. At the 
same time, my Lord, I recognise the fact that the Imperial Conference is 
an assemblage of officials pure and simple, consisting of Ministers of the 
United Kingdom and of the Self-Governing Colonies. But, my Lord, there 
is an essential difference between them and ourselves. In their case, the 
Ministers are the elect of the people, their organ and their voice, answer- 
able to them for their conduct and their proceedings. In our case, our 
officials are public servants in name, but in reality they are the masters 
of the public. The situation may improve, and I trust it will, under the 
liberalising influence of your Excellency's beneficent administration ; but 
we must take things as they are, and not indulge in building castles in 
the air which may vanish "like the baseless fabric of a vision." 

It was said to be an epoch making event that "Indian Repre- 
sentatives" took part in the Conference. Representatives they 
were, but, as said, of the British Government in India, not of 
India, whereas their colleagues represented their Nations. They 
did good work, none the less, for they were able and experienced 
men, though they failed us in the Imperial Preference Confer- 
ence, and, partially, on the Indentured Labour question. Yet we 
hope that the presence in the Conference of men of Indian birth 
may prove to be the proverbial "thin end of the wedge," and 
may have convinced their colleagues that, while India was still 
a Dependency, India's sons were fully their equals. 

The Report of the Public Services Commission, though now 
too obviously obsolete to be discussed, caused both disappoint- 
ment and resentment; for it showed that, in the eyes of the 
majority of the Commissioners, English domination in Indian 
administration was to be perpetual, and that 30 years hence she 
would only hold a pitiful 25 per cent of the higher appointments 
in the I. C, S. and the Police. I cannot, however, mention that 
Commission, even in passing, without voicing India's thanks to 
the Hon. Mr. Justice Rahim, for his rare courage in writing a 
solitary Minute of Dissent, in which he totally rejected the Re- 
port, and laid down the right principles which should govern 
recruitment for the Indian Civil Services. 

India had but three representatives on the Commission; G. K. 
Gokhale died ere it made its Report, his end quickened by his 
sufferings during its work, by the humiliation of the way in 
which his countrymen were treated. Of Mr. Abdur Rahim I 
have already spoken. The Hon. Mr. M. B. Chaubal signed the 
Report, but dissented from some of its most important recom- 
mendations. The whole Report was written "before the flood," 
and it is now merely an antiquarian curiosity. 

India, for all these reasons, was forced to see before her a 
future of perpetual subordination: the Briton rules in Great 
Briton, the Frenchman in Prance, the American in America, each 
Dominion in its own area, but the Indian was to rule nowhere; 
alone among the peoples of the world, he was not to feel his 
own country as his own. "Britain for the British" was right 
and natural; "India for the Indians" was wrong, even seditious. 


It must be "India for the Empire," or not even for the Empire, 
but "for the rest of the Empire," careless of herself. "British 
support for British Trade" was patriotic and proper in Britain. 
"Swadeshi goods for Indians" showed a petty and anti-Imperial 
spirit in India. The Indian was to continue to live perpetually, 
and even thankfully, as Gopal Krishna Gokhale said he lived 
now, in "an atmosphere of inferiority," and to be proud to be a 
citizen (without rights) of the Empire, while its other com- 
ponent Nations were to be citizens (with rights) in their own 
countries first, and citizens of the Empire secondarily. Just as 
his trust in Great Britain was strained nearly to breaking point 
came the glad news of Mr. Montagu's appointment as Secretary 
of State for India, of the Viceroy's invitation to him, and of his 
coming to hear for himself what India wanted. It was a ray of 
sunshine breaking through the gloom, confidence in Great 
Britain revived, and glad preparation was made to welcome the 
coming of a friend. 

The attitude of India has changed to meet the changed atti- 
tude of the Governments of India and Great Britain. But let 
none imagine that the consequential change of attitude connotes 
any change in her determination to win Home Rule. She is 
ready to consider terms of peace, but it must be "peace with 
honour," and honour in this connexion means Freedom. If this 
be not granted, an even more vigorous agitation will begin. 
(c) Loss of Belief in the Superiority of the White Races 

The undermining of this belief dates from the spreading of 
the Arya Samaj and the Theosophical Society. Both bodies 
sought to lead the Indian people to a sense of the value of their 
own civilisation, to pride in their past, creating self respect in 
the present, and self confidence in the future. They destroyed 
the unhealthy inclination to imitate the West in all things, and 
taught discrimination, the using only of what was valuable in 
western thought and culture, instead of a mere slavish copying 
of everything. Another great force was that of Swami Vive- 
kananda, alike in his passionate love and admiration for India, 
and his exposure of the evils resulting from Materialism in the 
West. Take the following: 

Children of India, I am here to speak to you today about some practical 
things, and my object in reminding you about the glories of the past is 
simply this. Many times have I been told that looking into the past only 
degenerates and lands to nothing, and that we should look to the future. 
That is true. But out of the past is built the future. Look back, there- 
fore, as far as you can, drink deep of the eternal fountains that are behind, 
and after that, look forward, march forward, and make India brighter, 
greater, much higher than she ever was. Our ancestors were great. We 
must recall that. We must learn the elements of our being, the blood 
that courses in our veins ; we must have faith in that blood, and what it 
did in the past ; and out of that faith, and consciousness of past great- 
ness, we must build an India yet greater than what she has been. 

And again: 

I know for certain that millions, I say deliberately, millions, in every 
civilised land are waiting for the message that will save them from the 


hideous abyss of materialism, into which modern money-worsliip Is driving 
them headlong, and many of the leaders of the new Social Movements 
have already discovered that Vedanta in its highest form can alone spir- 
itualise their social aspirations. 

The process was continued by the admiration of Sanskrit 
literature expressed by European scholars and philosophers. 
But the effect of these was confined to the few and did not reach 
the many. The first great shock to their belief in white su- 
periority came from the triumph of Japan over Russia, the 
facing of a huge European Power by a comparatively small 
eastern Nation, the exposure of the weakness and rottenness of 
the Russian leaders, and the contrast with their hardy virile 
opponents, ready to sacrifice everything for their country. 

The "second great shock has come from the frank brutality of 
German theories of the State, and their practical carrying out 
in the treatment of conquered districts and the laying waste of 
evacuated areas in retreat. The teachings of Bismarck and their 
practical application in France, Flanders, Belgium, Poland and 
Serbia have destroyed all the glamour of the superiority of 
Christendom over Asia. Its vaunted civilisation is seen to be 
but a thin veneer, and its religion a matter of form rather than 
of life. Gazing from afar at the ghastly heaps of dead and the 
hosts of the mutilated, at science turned into deviltry and ever 
inventing new tortures for rending and slaying, Asia may be 
forgiven for thinking that, on the whole, she prefers her own 
religions and her own civilisations. 

But even deeper than the outer tumult of War has pierced the 
doubt as to the reality of the Ideals of Liberty and Nationality 
so loudly proclaimed by the foremost western Nations, the doubt 
of the honesty of their champions. Sir James Meston said truly, 
a short time ago, that he had never, in his long experience, 
known Indians in so distrustful and suspicious a mood as that 
which he met in them today. And that is so. For long years 
Indians have been chafing over the many breaches of promises 
and pledges to them that remain unredeemed. The maintenance 
here of a system of political repression, of coercive measures in- 
creased in number and more harshly applied since 1905, the 
carrying of the system to a wider extent since the War for the 
sanctity of treaties and for the protection of Nationalities has 
been going on, have deepened the mistrust, A frank and cour- 
ageous statesmanship applied to the honest carrying out of large 
reforms too long delayed, can alone remove it. The time for 
political tinkering is past; the time for wise and definite changes 
is here. 

To these deep causes must be added the comparison between 
the progressive policy of some of the Indian States in matters 
which most affect the happiness of the people, and the slow ad- 
vance made under British administration. The Indian notes 
that this advance is made under the guidance of rulers and min- 


isters of his own race. When he sees that the suggestions made 
in the People's Assembly in Mysore are fully considered and, 
when possible, given effect to, he realises that without the forms 
of power, the members exercise more real power than those in 
our Legislative Councils. He sees education spreading, new 
industries fostered, villagers encouraged to manage their own 
affairs and take the burden of their own responsibility, and he 
wonders why Indian incapacity is so much more efficient than 
British capacity. 

Perhaps, after all, for Indians, Indian rule may be the best. 

(d) The Awakening of the Merchants 

Of the many forces that have created New India, the awaken^ 
ing of the Merchants into political life is perhaps the most 
potent, and the most pregnant with happy possibilities. Sir Dorab 
Tata, in the Industrial Conference in Bombay, 1915, advocated 
the yoking together of Politics and Industry. It is now coming 
about. Hitherto the merchants had remained immersed in their 
own occupations, but they were awakened by the War to the 
necessity of taking part in politics by finding that those very 
occupations were threatened with disaster by the attitude of 
the Government; as for instance, the refusal to lend a helping 
hand to industries which had been connected closely with Ger- 
'man trade and were menaced with ruin by the War; by the 
refusal to aid the efforts made to replace necessaries, hitherto 
supplied by Germany, by the founding or financing of factories 
for their production at home; by the restrictions put on trade 
under pretext of the War, that prevented the legitimate expan- 
sion of promising branches of industry; by the absence of 
effort to relieve the stringency of the money market, 
wealthy merchants being unable to obtain cash to meet 
their liabilities here, because their English debtors could not 
transmit the money they owed; some were even obliged to sell 
the depreciated Government paper at heavy loss in order to 
maintain their credit; in other cases War Bonds were offered to 
them in lieu of cash for goods supplied. The details have varied 
in different centres, and the wealthy and independent merchants 
of Bombay have suffered less than the merchants of Madras, with 
whose difficulties I am naturally more familiar. 

There, added difficulties constantly arise from the favouritism 
shown by the Presidency Bank to English, as compared with 
Indian, clients, and the absence of Indians from its Directorate, 
complained of for years. The anxiety felt by the merchants was 
largely increased by the depreciation of Government paper, and 
apart from the heavy losses of capital incurred when necessity 
forced holders to sell for cash, an uneasy feeling arose as to the 
stability of the Government, when its securities fell so low. 

Another disturbing cause was the alienation during many years 


of lands and minerals to foreigners, the Government looking on 
with indifference. 

The copra and coir industry of the West Coast had passed into 
German hands; struck away from them by the War, there was 
danger of its being absorbed by the English; happily the firm of 
Tata and Sons stepped in and rescued it, and it remains an 
Indian industry. Ten years ago, the working of the blend known 
as monizite, an ingredient in munitions, was absorbed by Ger- 
many. Indian mica mines became German property. Undressed 
hides were exported wholesale to Germany, although Mysore had 
shown that they could be dressed and tanned better in Indian 
than in European factories, and only a little encouragement and 
help were needed to ensure their dressing and tanning, if not 
also their working, here. Instead of that, the undressed hides 
were bought up by Government at a price fixed by themselves, 
and were largely exported to be dressed, tanned and worked 
abroad. The Viceroy, speaking in the Supreme Council on Sep- 
tember 5th last, stated that large orders had been given to 
"tanners in India," and that experimental work in tanning had 
yielded results which promised success on a commercial scale; he 
expressed the hope that, after the War, the tanning industry 
would undergo a great expansion for general purposes. But 
hide merchants are distressed by an order that hides are to be 
purchased at War prices, the British War Office buying them to. 
provide with leather goods the civilian population in Britain. But 
what has the War Office to do with providing boots for civilians, 
and why should India be drained for civil as well as for military 
purposes? If the tanning experiments are being carried on with 
India's money by experts paid by India, and not by British capi- 
talists, then the outcome should be the property of India and 
enrich the people of the country, not British merchants and 
manufacturers settled here. 

The war has turned the attention of Government to the wis- 
dom of utilizing India's immense natural resources, and the 
Viceroy speaks of organizing these resources with "a view to 
making India more self-contained, and less dependent on the 
outer world for the supplies of manufactured goods," We heartily 
endorse this view. This has long been the cry from Indians, 
for India with her varieties of soil and climate, can produce 
all the materials she needs, and with her surplus goods she can, 
as Phillimore said of her in the seventeenth century, "with the 
droppings of her soil feed distant nations." But the East India 
Company first, the British Government next, and lately exploit- 
ing bodies of imperialist traders, have vehemently insisted that 
India should supply raw materials, export them for manufacture 
abroad, and purchase, preferably within the Empire, the goods 
manufactured out of them. As Macaulay pointed out, the mar- 
velous expansion of English industry was contemporaneous with 
the impoverishment of India. The reversal of this policy by the 


present Viceroy will earn India's undying gratitude, if he fosters 
Indian industries and not English industries in India. A wit- 
ness before the Industries Commission stated that India should 
raise products for use outside, that is, as the East India Com- 
pany put it, become a plantation for the supply of raw materials. 
The Viceroy must pardon us, if previous exeprience has made 
us anxious on this point. We cannot forget that a century ago 
the traces of iron were found in the Central Provinces, and 
that nothing was done to extract the metal — England then being 
the world's shop for iron to her own huge profit and not desiring 
a rival. It was left for Tata to seize the opportunity, and his 
shares of Rs. 30 are now sold at Rs. 1180. He started a great 
industry, and Tata's steel is sought so largely that he cannot 
meet the demand. Had the iron been raised and worked here 
during these long years, we should not now be dependent on 
Britain for our machinery, the want of which cripples the efforts 
to found new industries and to expand old ones, in order to 
supply the demand caused by the necessary absorption of fac- 
tories in Great Britain for war work. 

The Viceroy remarks truly that previous "efforts were more 
sporadic than systematic," but proceeds: 

The marked success which has followed the organization of research 
and demonstration work in scientific agriculture, and the assistance 
which has been given to the mineral industries by the Geological Survey 
are striking examples that encourage a bolder policy on similar lines for 
the benefit of other and especially the manufacturing industries. 

Here again, we must pause to remark that some of these ex- 
periments in scientific agriculture result in efforts to meet the 
demands of England, rather than those of India. India works 
up short-stapled cotton. Especially in her hand loom industry, 
short stapled cotton suits her. Lancashire wants long stapled, 
and cannot get enough from the United States and Egypt. There- 
fore, India should substitute long for short stapled cotton. We 
confess we do not see the sequitur. Nor do we find, in our study 
of English trade, that England, which is set up as an example 
to be copied, has followed self-denying ordinances, and has reg- 
ulated her production so as to help foreign countries to her 
own detriment. 

However, the war has done for India, in awakening the in- 
terest of the Government in her industries, that which the at- 
tempts of Indian patriots have failed to do. The war brought 
about the Industries Commission, and the need for munitions 
has forced industrial organization for their production. It is 
for Indian merchants to see, by seizing and utilizing the po- 
litical weapon, that the organization and encouragement of in- 
dustries by Government — unless it be a Home Government, under 
their own control — does not reduce Indians to a more subor- 
dinate position than they now hold, it is this danger which 
is playing a great part in the fear which has caused the Awak- 


ening of the Merchants. The tea industry, for instance, is in 
the hands of English planters, and while incomes drawn from 
other agricultural profits have been taxed, incomes derived form 
tea — which is certainly an agricultural profit — have wholly es- 
caped till lately. If this policy be pursued, and the fostering of 
industries with Indian money places the industries in foreign 
hands, Indians will even more than now, be dubashes and clerks 
and other employees of English captained firms, and will depend 
ever more and more on wages, driven lower and lower by in- 
creasing competition. 

The industrial prospects in India are by no means discour- 
aging, if Indians exert themselves to hold their own. Mr. Tozer, 
in his British India and Its Trade, says: 

The cotton and jute manufacturers already conducted on a large 
scale, offer scope for still further development. Sugar and tobacco are 
produced In large quantities, but both require the application of the 
latest scientific processes of cultivation and manufacture. Oil seeds 
might be crushed in India instead of being exported ; while cotton seeds, 
as yet imperfectly utilized, can be turned to good account. Hides and 
skins, now largely exported raw, might be more largely tanned and dressed 
in India. Again, the woollen and silken fabrics manufactured in India 
are mostly coarse fabrics and there is scope for the production of finer 
goods. Although railways make their own rolling stock, they have to 
import wheels and axles, tyres and other iron work. At present steel 
is manufactured on a very small scale, and the number of ii-on foun- 
dries and machine shops, although increasing, is capable of greater ex- 
pansion. Machinery and machine tools have for the most part to be 
imported. Millions of agriculturists and artisans use rude tools which 
might be replaced by similar articles that are more durable and of better 
make. Improved oil presses and hand-looms should find a profitable 
market. Paper mills and flour mills might be established in greater 
numbers. Tliere are openings also for the manufacture of sewing ma- 
chines, fire-works, rope, boots and shoes, saddlery, harness, clocks, 
watches, aniline and alazarine dyes, electrical appliances, glass and 
glassware, tea chests, gloves, rice, starch, matches, lamps, candles, soap, 
linen, hardware and cutlery. 

Obviously, India might be largely self-sufficing, and, as of 
old, export her surplus. Bnt now her imports are rising, and 
under the present system her exports do not enrich her as they 

Imports were steadily rising before the war, but dropped with 
it (amounts given in pounds sterling) :* 

1911-12— £ 92,383,200 Piece Goods 28,592,000 

1912-13— 107,332,490 Piece Goods 35,536,000 

1913-14— 122,165,203 Piece Goods 38,758,000 

1914-15— 91,955,600 Piece Goods 28,643,000 

1915-16— 87,560,169 Piece Goods 25,175,000 


The pervious five years also show generally rising importg 
(amounts given in rupees) : 

1906-07 Rs 135,50,85,676 

1907-08 Rs 162,71,55,234 

1908-09 Rs 143,89,75,796 

1909-10 Rs 154,48,36,214 

1910-11 Rs 169,05,72,729 

Exports exceeded imports, and the war has made difficulties in 
the way of realizing payment. (Amounts given in pounds ster- 

1911-12 £147,879,060 

1912-13 160,899,289 

1913-14 :. 162,807,900 

1914-15 118,323,300 

1915-16 128,356,619 

Indian merchants have seen the swift expansion of Japanese 
trade, and know that it is fostered by the Japanese Government, 
both by protection and with bounties. They have to compete 
with it in their own land. Is it any wonder that they desire an 
Indian Government? They see Japanese goods underselling them 
and flooding their own markets. Is it any wonder that they de- 
sire a Home Government, that will put duties on these foreign 
goods and protect their own products? 

The furious uprising of the European Associations, ever in- 
different to politics which only concern Indian interests, has 
shown them that their trade rivals dread the transfer of power, 
because they fear to lose the unfair privileges and advantages 
which they have always enjoyed, since the humble traders of 
the seventeenth century became the masters of India. They 
are not accustomed to a struggle on equal terms, and the pros- 
pect dismays them. They want privilege, not justice and a 
fair field. Much of their fear and anger, the need felt by Sir 
Hugh Bray for English dominance for the protection of English 
interests, lie in the fact that they dread the budget of a Home 
Government, even more than they dread a fair trade competition. 

The Indian merchants now realize that in the trade war after 
the end of the present war, they will go down unless they have 
power in their own country. Trade, commerce, industry, or- 
ganized by the countrymen of the European Chambers of Com- 
merce and Trade Associations, mean ruin to the Indian mer- 
chants, traders and manufacturers. The favoritism of Govern- 
ments and English banks has spelt hard struggle during the 
period when organization was wanting. When it is accom- 
panied by organization created and ruled by the foreigners, it 
will spell ruin. Mr. J. W. Root has rightly observed that to 
give Great Britain, under present circumstances — 


The control over Indian foreign trade and internal industry that 
would be secured by a common tariff would be an unpardonable iniquity. 
. . . Can it be conceived that were India's fiscal arrangements placed 
to any considerable extent under the control of British legislators, they 
would not be regulated with an eye to British interests? Intense jealousy 
of India is always cropping up In everything affecting fiscal or industrial 

Indian merchants are fairly alive to this danger, and to 
avert it they are welcoming Home Rule. 

The merchants also realize that fiscal autonomy can only 
come with political automony. Only the illogical demand fiscal 
autonomy and reject Home Rule. A budget framed by an In- 
dian Finance Member would aim at a much increased expendi- 
ture on education, sanitation and irrigation— ran expenditure 
that would result in increased capacity and increased health for 
the citizens and increased productiveness for the land. Rail- 
ways would be constructed out of loans raised for the partic- 
ular project, not out of revenue. Administration charges would 
be reduced by the reduction of salaries and greater economy. 
They have increased in a decade by Rs. 160 millions. 

On the revenue side, the taxation on land would be lightened 
so that cultivators might make a decent living by their labour. 
Exports of Indian monopolies such as jute and indigo, would 
be heavily taxed. Imports would be taxed according to India's 
needs, and heavy duties laid on bounty-fed products. Imported 
liquors would carry a prohibitory duty, and they were imported 
in 1910-11 to the value of Rs. 1,89,81,666. Provisions, which 
were imported to the value of over 3 crores of rupees, might 
also be heavily taxed, being a luxury. Sugar rose in five years 
from 10 crores of rupees to 14 crores, and should be heavily 
taxed, so as to encourage its growth here. Cotton piece goods 
have risen from 37 crores to 41 crores and India should supply 
herself, as well as with silk piece goods, risen from 1 2-3 crores 
to 2 3-4 crores. Army expenditures at the moment cannot be 
reduced, but later territorial armies would be raised and large 
reserves gradually formed. For a time English troops would 
remain, as in the South African Union, but the short service 
system would be abolished and recruiting charges reduced. 

Even so hasty a glance over the economic condition of India 
makes very plain the reasons for the awakening of Indian mer- 
chants, and their entry into the Home Rule camp. 

(c) The Awakening of the Women 
The position of women in the ancient Aryan civilization was 
a very noble one.* The great majority married, becoming, as 
Manu said, the Light of the Home; some took up the ascetic life, 
remained unmarried, and sought the knowledge or Brahman, 
The story of the Rani Damayanti, to whom her husband's min- 
isters came, when they were troubled by the Raja's gambling; 
that of Gandhari, in the Council of Kings and warrior Chiefs, 


remonstrating with her headstrong son; in later days, those of 
Padmavati of Chittoor, of Mirabai of Marwar, the sweet poetess, 
of Tarabai of Thoda, the warrior, of Chand Bibi, the defender 
of Ahmednagar, of Ahalya Bai of Indore, the Great Ruler — 
all these and countless others are Well known. 

Only in the last five or six generations has the Indian woman 
slipped away from her place at her husband's side, and left 
him unhelped in his public life. Even now, they wield great 
influence over husband and son, but lack thorough knowledge 
to aid. Culture has never forsaken them, but the English edu- 
cation of their husbands and sons, with the neglect of Samskrit 
and the Vernacular, have made a barrier between the culture 
of the husband and that of the wife, and have shut the woman 
out from her old sympathy with the larger life of men. While 
the interests of the husband have widened, those of the wife 
have narrowed. The materializing of the husband has tended 
also, by reaction, to render the wife's religion less broad and 
wise, and by throwing her on the family priest for guidance 
in religion, instead, as of old, on her husband, has made the 
religion entirely one of devotion; and lacking the strong stim- 
ulus of knowledge, it more easily slides down into superstition, 
into dependence on forms not understood. 

The wish to save their sons from the materializing results 
of English education awoke keen sympathy among Indian moth- 
ers with the movement to make Hinduism an integral part of 
education. It was, perhaps, the first movement in modern days 
which aroused among them in all parts of India a keen and 
living interest. 

Then the troubles of Indians outtiide India roused the ever 
quick sympathy of Indian women, and the attack in South 
Africa on the sacredness of Indian marriage drew large numbers 
of them out of their homes to protest against the wrong. 

The Partition of Bengal was bitterly resented by Bengali 
women, and was another factor in the outward turning change. 
When the editor of an Extremist newspaper was prosecuted for 
sedition, convicted and sentenced, 500 Bengali women went to 
his mother to show their sympathy, not by condolences, but by 
congratulations. Such was the feeling of the well born women 
of Bengal. 

The indentured labor question, involving the dishonor of wo- 
men, again moved them deeply, and even sent a deputation to 
the Viceroy composed of women. 

These were, perhaps, the chief outer causes; but deep in the 
heart of India's daughters arose the Mother's voice, calling on 
them to help her to arise, and to be once more mistress in her 
own household. Indian women, nursed on her old literature, 
with its wonderful ideals of womanly perfection, could not re- 
main indifferent to the great movement for India's liberty. 
And during the last few years the hidden fire long burning 


in their hearts, fire of love to Bharatamata, fire of resentment 
against the lessened influence of the religion which they pas- 
sionately love, instinctive dislike of the foreigner as ruling in 
their land, have caused a marvelous awakening. The strength 
of the Home Rule movement is rendered tenfold greater by 
the adhesion to it of large numbers of women, who bring to its 
helping the uncalculating heroism, the endurance, the self-sacri- 
fice, of the feminine nature. Our League's best recruits and re- 
cruiters are among the women of India, and the women of 
Madras boast that they marched in procession when the men 
were stopped, and that their prayers in the temples set the 
interned captives free. Home Rule has become so intertwined 
with religion by the prayers offered up in the great Southern 
Temples — sacred places of pilgrimage — and spreading from them 
to village temples, and also by its being preached, up and down 
the country, by Sadhus and Sannyasins that it has become in 
the minds of the women and of the ever-religious masses, in- 
extricably intertwined with religion. That is, in this country, 
the surest way of winning alike the women of the higher 
classes and the men and women villagers. And that is why I 
have said that the two words, "Home Rule," have become a 

(t) The Awakening of the Masses 

This is another startling phenomenon of our times, due of 
late to the teaching of Sadhus and Sannyasins and the cam- 
paign of prayer, just mentioned, but much more to the steady 
influence of the educated classes permeating the masses for 
very many years, the classes which, as we shall see, have their 
roots struck deep in the villages. It must be remembered that 
the raiyat, though innocent of English, has a culture of his 
own, made up of old traditions and legends and folk-lore, com- 
ing down from time immemorial. He is religious, knows the 
great laws of Karma and Reincarnation, is industrious and 
shrewd. He cares very little for who is the "Sirkar," and very 
much for the agents who come to collect his tax, or to meddle 
with his fields. In the old days, which for him still live, the 
Panchayat managed the village affairs, and he was prosperous 
and contented, save when the King's tax gatherer came, or sol- 
diers harried his village. These were inevitable natural evils, 
like drought or flood, and if a raid came or an invasion, they 
felt they were suffering with their King, and in the tax they 
were sharing with their King, whereas they are crushed now 
in an iron machinery, without the human nexus that used to 

Home Rule has touched the raiyat through his village life, 
where the present order presses hardly upon him in ways 
that I shall refer to when dealing with agricultural conditions. 


He resents the rigid payment of tax in money instead of the 
variable tax in kind, the King's share of the produce. He re- 
sents the frequent resettlements which force him to borrow 
from the money lender to meet the higher claim. He wants the 
old Panchayat back again; he wants that his village shall be 
managed by himself and his fellows, and he wants to get rid 
of the tyranny of petty officials, who have replaced the old 
useful communal servants. 

We cannot leave out of the causes which have helped to 
awaken the masses the influence of the Co-operative Movement, 
and the visits paid to villages by educated men for lectures 
on sanitation, hygiene, and other subjects. Messrs. Moreland 
and Ewing, writing in the Quarterly Review, remarked: 

The change of attitude on the part of the peasant, coupled with the 
progress made in organization mainly through the co-operative propa- 
ganda, is the outstanding achievement of the past decade, and at the 
same time the chief ground for the recent confidence with which agri- 
cultural reformers can now face the future. 

In many parts of the country where conferences are carried 
on in the vernacular, the raiyats attend in large numbers, and 
often take ' part in the practical discussions on local affairs 
They have begun to hope, and to feel that they are a part of 
the great National movement, and that for them also a better 
day is dawning. 

The submerged classes have also felt the touch of a ray of 
hope, and are lifting up their bowed heads, and claiming, with 
more and more definiteness, their place in the household of 
the mother. Movements created by themselves, or originating 
in the higher castes, have been stirring in them a sense of 
self-respect. The Brahmanas, awakening to a sense of their 
long neglected duty, have done much to help them, and the 
prospect of their future brightens year by year. 

By a just Karma the higher castes are finding that attempts 
are being made by official and non-ofllcial Europeans to stir 
this class into opposition to Home Rule. They play upon the 
contempt with which they had been treated, and threatened 
them with a return of it if "Brahmana Rule," as they call it, 
is gained. Twenty years ago and more, I ventured to urge the 
danger to Hindu society that was hidden within the neglect 
of the submerged, and the folly of making it profitable for 
them to embrace Islam or Christianity, which offered them a 
higher social status. Much has been done since then, but it 
is only a drop in the ocean needed. They know very well, of 
course, that all the castes, not the highest alone, are equally 
guilty, but that is a sorry comfort. Large numbers of them 
are, happily, willing to forget the past and to work with their 
Indian fellow countrymen for the future. It is the urgent duty 


of every lover of the Mother land to draw these, her neglected 
children, into the common home. 

Mr. Gandhi's capital idea of a monster petition for the Con- 
gress-League scheme, for which signatures were only to be 
taken after careful explanation of its scope and meaning, has 
proved to be an admirable method of political propaganda. The 
soil in the Madras Presidency had been well prepared by a 
wide distribution of popular literature, and the Propaganda 
Committee had scattered over the land in the vernacular a 
simple explanation of Home Rule. The result of active work 
in the villages during the last year showed itself in the gath- 
ering in less than a month of nearly a million signatures. They 
have been taken in duplicate, so that we have a record of a 
huge number of people, interested in Home Rule, and the hosts 
will increase in ever widening circles preparing for the coming 

Why India Demands Home Rule 

India demands Home Rule for two reasons, one essential 
and vital, the other less important but weighty: First, because 
Freedom is the birthright of every nation; secondly, because 
her most important interests are now made subservient to the 
interests of the British Empire without her consent, and her 
resources are not utilized for her greatest needs. It is enough 
only to mention the money spent on her army, not for local 
defense but for imperial purposes, as compared with that spent 
on primary education. 


(a) What Is a Nation? 
Self-government is necessary to the self-respect and dignity 
of a people; other government emasculates a nation, lowers its 
character, and lessens its capacity. The wrong done by the 
Arms Act, which Raja Rampal Singh voiced in the Second 
Congress as a wrong which outweighed all the benefits of 
British rule, was its weakening and debasing effect on Indian 
manhood. "We cannot," he declared, "be grateful to it for de- 
grading our natures, for systematically crushing out all martial 
spirit, for converting a race of soldiers and heroes into a timid 
flock of quill-driving sheep." This was done not by the fact 
that a man did not carry arms — few carry them in England — 
but that men were deprived of the right to carry them. A 
nation, an individual, cannot develop his capacities to the ut- 
most without Liberty. And this is recognized everywhere ex- 
cept in India. As Mazzini truly said: 

God has written a line of His thought over the cradle of every peo- 
ple. That is its special mission. It cannot be cancelled ; it must be 
freely developed. 

For what is a Nation? It is a spark of the Divine fire, a 
fragment of the Divine Life, outbreathed into the world, and 


gathering round itself a mass of individuals, men, women and 
children, whom it binds together into one. Its qualities, its 
powers, in a word, its type, depend on the fragment of the 
Divine Life embodied in it, the Life which shapes it, evolves 
it, colors it, and makes it One. The magic of Nationality is the 
feeling of oneness, and the use of Nationality is to serve the 
world in the particular way for which its type fits it. This 
is what Mazzini called "its special mission," the duty given to^ 
It by God in its birth-hour. Thus India had the duty of spread-^ 
ing the idea of Dharma, Persia that of Purity, Egypt that of 
Science, Greece that of Beauty, Rome that of Law. But to 
render its full service to humanity it must develop along its 
own lines, and be Self-determined in its evolution. It must be 
Itself and not Another. The whole world suffers where a Na- 
tionality is distorted or suppressed before its mission to the 
world is accomplished. 

(1)) The Cry for Self-Rule 
Hence the cry of a nation for freedom, for Self-Rule, is not 
a cry of mere selfishness demanding more rights that it may 
enjoy more happiness. Even in that there is nothing wrong, for 
happiness means fulness of life, and to enjoy such fulness is a 
righteous claim. But the demand for Self-Rule is a demand 
for the evolution of its own nature for the Service of Humanity. 
It is a demand of the deepest Spirituality, an expression of the 
longing to give its very best to the world. Hence dangers can- 
not check it, nor threats appal, nor offerings of greater pleas- 
ures lure it to give up its demand for Freedom. In the adapted 
words of a Christian Scripture it passionately cries: "What 
shall it profit a nation if it gain the whole world and lose its 
own Soul? What shall a nation give in exchange for its Soul?" 
Better hardship and freedom than luxury and thraldom. This 
is the spirit of the Home Rule movement, and therefore it can- 
not be crushed, it cannot be destroyed, it is eternal and ever 
young. Nor can it be persuaded to exchange its birthright for 
any mess of efficiency pottage at the hands of bureaucracy. 

(c) Stunting the Race 
Coming closer to the daily life of the people as individuals, 
we see that the character of each man, woman and child is de- 
graded and weakened by a foreign administration, and this 
is most keenly felt by the best Indians. Speaking on the em- 
ployment of Indians in the public service, Gopal Krishna Gok- 
hale said: 

A kind of dwarfing or stunting of the Indian race is going on under 
the present system. We must live all the days of our life in an at- 
mosphere of inferiority, and the tallest of us must bend, in order that 
the exigencies of the system may be satisfied. The upward impulse, if 
I may use such an expression, which every school boy at Eton or Harrow 
may feel, that he may one day be Gladstone, a Nelson, or a Wellington, 


and which may draw forth the best efforts of which he is capable, that 
is denied to us. The full height to which our manhood is capable of 
rising can never be reached by us under the present system. The moral 
elevation which every Self-Governing people feel cannot be felt by us. 
Our administrative and military talents must gradually disappear owing 
to sheer disuse, till at last our lot, as hewers of wood and drawers of 
water in our own country, is stereotyped. 

The Hon. Mr. Bhupendranath Basu has spoken on similar 

A bureaucratic administration, conducted by an imported agency, and 
centering all power in its hands, and undertaking all responsibility, has 
acted as a dead weight on the Soul of India, stifling in us all sense of 
initiative, for the lack of which we are condemned, atrophying the 
nerves of action and, what is most serious, necessarily dwarfing in us 
all feeling of self-respect. 

In this connection the warning of Lord Salisbury to Cooper's 
Hill students is significant: 

No system of Government can be permanently safe where there is a 
feeling of inferiority or of mortification affecting the relation between 
the governing and the governed. There is nothing I would more ear- 
nestly wish to impress upon all who leave this country for the purpose 
of governing India than that, if they choose to be so, they are the only 
enemies England has to fear. They are the persons who can, if they 
will, deal a blew of the deadliest character at the future rule of England. 

I have ventured to urge this danger, which has increased of 
late years, in consequence of the growing self-respect of the In- 
dians. But the ostrich policy is thought to be preferable in my 
part of the country. 

This stunting of the race begins with the education of the child. 
The schools differentiate between British and Indian teachers; 
the Colleges do the same. The students see first-class Indians 
superseded by young and third-rate foreigners; the Principal of 
a College should be a foreigner; foreign history is more important 
than Indian! to have written on English villages is a qualification 
for teaching economics in India; the whole atmosphere of the 
School and College emphasises the superiority of the foreigner, 
even when the professors abstain from open assertion thereof. 
The Education Department controls the education given, and it 
is planned on foreign models, and its object is to serve foreign 
rather than native ends, to make docile Government servants 
rather than patriotic citizens; high spirits, courage, self-respect 
are not encouraged, and docility is regarded as the most precious 
quality in the student; pride in country, patriotism, ambition, are 
looked on as dangerous, and English instead of Indian, Ideals 
are exalted; the blessing of a foreign rule and the incapacity of 
Indians to manage their own affairs are constantly inculcated. 
What wonder that boys thus trained often turn out, as men, time- 
servers and sycophants, and, finding their legitimate ambitions 
frustrated, become selfish and care little for the public weal? 
Their own inferiority has been so driven into them during their 
most impressionable years, that they do not even feel what Mr. 
Asquith called the "intolerable degradation of a foreign yoke." 


(d) India's Rights 

It is not a question whether the rule is good or bad. German 
efficiency in Germany is far greater than English efficiency in 
England ; the Germans were better fed, had more amusements and 
leisure, less crushing poverty than the English. But would any 
Englishman therefore desire to see Germans occupying all the 
highest positions in England? Why not? Because the righteous 
self-respect and dignity of the free man revolt against foreign 
domination, however superior. As Mr. Asquith said at the be- 
ginning of the War, such a condition was "inconceivable and 
would be intolerable." Why then is it the one conceivable system 
here in India? Why is it not felt by all Indians to be intolerable? 
It is because it has become a habit, bred in us from childhood, 
to regard the sahab-log as our natural superiors, and the greatest 
injury British, rule has done to Indians is to deprive them of the 
natural instinct born in all free peoples, the feeling of an in- 
herent rigHt to self determination, to be themselves. Indian dress, 
Indian food, Indian ways, Indian customs, are all looked on as 
second-rate; Indian mother-tongue and Indian literature cannot 
make an educated man, Indians as well as Englishmen take it 
for granted that the natural rights of every Nation do not belong 
to them; they claim "a larger share in the Government of the 
country," instead of claiming the Government of their own coun- 
try, and they are expected to feel grateful for "boons," for con- 
cessions. Britain is to say what she will give. The whole thing 
is wrong, topsy-turvy, irrational. Thank God that India's eyes 
are opening; that myriads of her people realize that they are 
men, with a man's right to freedom in his ov/n country, a man's 
right to manage his own affairs. India is no longer on her knees 
for boons; she is on her feet for Rights. It is because I have 
taught this, that the English in India misunderstand me, and call 
me seditious; it is because I have taught this, that I am Presi- 
dent of this Congress to-day. 

This may seem strong language, because the plain truth is not 
usually put in India. But this is what every Britain feels in 
Britain for his own country, and what every Indian should feel 
in India for his. This is the Freedom for which the Allies are 
fighting; this is Democracy, the Spirit of the Age. And this is 
what every true Briton will feel is India's Right, the moment 
India claims it for herself, as she is claiming it now. When 
this Right is gained, then will the tie between India and Great 
Britain become a golden link of mutual love and service, and the 
iron chain of a foreign yoke will fall away. We shall live and 
work side by side, with no sense of distrust and dislike, working 
as brothers for common ends. And from that union shall arise 
the mightiest Empire, or rather Commonwealth, that the world 
has ever known, a Commonwealth that, in God's good time, shall 
put an end to War. 



(a) Tests of Efficiency 

The Secondary Reasons for the present demand for Home Rule 
may be summed up in the blunt statement: "The present rule, 
while efficient in less important matters and in those which con- 
cern British interests, is inefficient in the greater matters on 
which the healthy life and happiness of the people depend." 
Looking at outer things, such as external order, posts and tele- 
graphs — except where political agitators are concerned — main 
roads, railways, etc., foreign visitors, who expected to find a 
semi-savage country, hold up their hands in admiratipn. But if 
they saw the life of the people, the masses of struggling clerks 
trying to educate their children on Rs 25 (28sh Qi^d) a month, 
the masses of laborers with one meal a day, and the huts in which 
they live, they would find cause for thought. And if the educated 
men talked freely with them, they would be surprised at their 
bitterness. Gopal Krishna Gokhale put the whole matter very 
plainly in 1911: 

One of the fundamental conditions of tlie peculiar position of the 
British Government in this country is that it should be a continuously 
progressive Government. I think all thinking men, to whatever com- 
munity they belong, will accept that. Now, I suggest four tests to 
judge whether the Government is progressive, and further, whether it 
is continuously progressive. The first test that I would applpy is what 
measures it adopts for the moral and material improvement of the mass 
of the people, and under these measures I do not include those appli- 
ances of modern governments which the British Government has applied 
in this country, because they were appliances necessary for its very ex- 
istence, though they have benefited the people, such as the construc- 
tion of railways, the introduction of post and telegraphs, and things 
of that kind. By measures for the moral and material improvement 
of the people, I mean what the Government does for education, what 
the Government does for sanitation, what the Government does foi 
agricultural development, and so forth. That is my first test. The sec- 
ond test that I would apply is what steps the Government takes to 
give us a larger share in the administration of our local affairs — in mu- 
nicipalities and local boards. My third test is what voice the Govern- 
ment gives us in its councils — in those deliberative assemblies, where 
policies are considered. And lastly, we must consider hoVs^ far Indiana 
are admitted into the ranks of the public service. 

(h) A Change of System Needed — Officials 
Those were Gokhale's tests, and Indians can supply the results 
of their knowledge and experience to answer them. But before 
dealing with the failure to meet these tests, it is necessary to 
state here that it is not a question of blaming men, or of substi- 
tuting Indians for Englishmen, but of changing the system itself. 
It is a commonplace that the best men become corrupted by the 
possession of irresponsible power. As Bernard Houghton says: 
"The possession of unchecked power corrupts some of the finer 
Qualities." Officials quite honestly come to believe that those who 
try to change the system are undermining the security of the 
gtate. They identify the State with themselves, so that criticism 


of them is seen as treason to the State. The phenomenon Is well- 
known in history, and it is only repeating itself in India. The 
same writer — I prefer to use his words rather than my own, for 
he expresses exactly my own views, and will not be considered to 
be prejudiced as I am thought to be — cogently remarks: 

He (the oflacial) has become an expert in reports and returns and 
matters of routine through many years of practice. They are the very 
warp and woof of his braii. He has no ideas, only reflexes. He views 
with acrid disfavor untried conceptions. From being constantly pre- 
occupied with the manipulation of the machine he regards its smooth 
working, the ordered and harmonious regulation of glittering pieces of 
machinery, as the highest service he can render to the country of his 
adoption. He deetrmines that this particular cog wheel at least shall 
be bright, smooth, silent, and with absolutely no back-lash. Not unnat- 
urally in course of time he comes to envisage the world through the 
strait embrasure of an office window. When perforce he must report 
on new proposals he will place in the forefront, not their influence on 
the life and progress of the people, but their convenience to the official 
hierarchy and the manner in which they affect its authority. Like the 
monks of old, or the squire in the typical English village, he cherishes 
a benevolent interest in the commonality, and is quite willing, even 
eager, to take a general interest in their welfare, if only they do not 
display initiative or assert themselves in opposition to himself or hia 
order. There is much in this proviso. Having come to regard his own 
judgment as almost divine, and the hierarchy of which he has the honour 
to form a part as a sacrosanct institution, he tolerates the laity so 
long as they labour quietly and peaceably at their vocations and do 
not presume to intermeddle in high matters of State. That is the 
heinous offense. And frank criticism of official acts touches a lower 
depth still, even lese majeste. For no official will endure criticism from 
his subordinates, and the public, who lie in outer darkness beyond the 
pale, do not, in his estimation, rank even with his subordinates. How, 
then, should he listen with patience when in their cavilling way they 
insinuate that, in spite of the labours of a high-souled bureaucracy, all 
is perhaps not for the best in the best of all possible worlds — still less 
when they suggest reforms that had never occurred even to him or to 
his order, and may clash with his most cherished ideals? It Is for the 
officials to govern the country ; they alone have been initiated into the 
sacred mysteries ; they alone understand the secret working of the ma- 
chine. At the utmost the laity may tender respectful and humble sug- 
gestions for their consideration, but no more. As for those who dare 
to think and act for themselves, their ignorant folly is only equaled 
by their arrogance. It is as though a handful of school boys were to 
dictate to their masters alterations in the traditional time-table, or to 
insist on a modified curriculum. . . . These worthy people (officials) 
confuse manly independence with disloyalty ; they cannot conceive of 
natives except either as rebels or as timid sheep. 

Other quotations on the effects of Bureaucracy will be found in 
Appendix I. 

(c) Non-Official Anglo-Indians 

The problem becomes more complicated by the existence in 
India of a small but powerful body of the same race as the higher 
officials; there are only 122,919 English-born persons in this coun- 
try, while there are 255,000,000 in the British Raj and another 
70,000,000 in the Indian States, more or less affected by British 
influence. As a rule, the non-officials do not take any part in 
politics, being otherwise occupied; but they enter the field when 


any hope arises in Indian hearts of changes really beneficial to 
the Nation. John Stuart Mill observed on this point: 

The individuals of the ruling people who resort to foreign country to 
make their fortunes are of all others those who most need to be held 
under powerful restraint. They are always one of the chief dilllculties 
of the Government. Armed with the prestige and filled with the scorn- 
ful overbearingness of the conquering nation, they have the feelings in- 
spired by absolute power without its sense of responsibility. 

Similarly, Sir John Lawrence wrote: 

The difficulty in the way of the Government of India acting fairly in 
these matters is immense. If anything is done, or attempted to be 
done, to help the natives, a general howl is raised, which reverberates 
in England, and finds sympathy and support there. I feel quite bewil- 
dered sometimes what to do. Every one is, in the abstract, for justice, 
moderation, and such like excellent qualities ; but when one comes to 
apply such principles so as to affect anybody's interests, then a change 
comes over them. 

Keene, speaking of the principle of treating equally all classes 
of the community, says: 

The application of that maxim, however, could not be made without 
sometimes provoking opposition among the handful of white settlers 
in India who, even when not connected with the administration, claimed 
a kind of class ascendency which was not only in the conditions of the 
country but also in the nature of the case. It was perhaps natural that 
in a land of caste the compatriots of the rulers should become — as Lord 
Lytton said — a kind of "white Brahmanas" ; and it was certain that, 
as a matter of fact, the pride of race and the possession of western 
civilization created a sense of superiority, the display of which was un- 
graceful and even dangerous, when not tempered with official respon- 
sibility. This feeling had been sensitive enough in the days of Lord 
William Bentinck, when the class referred to was small in numbers 
and devoid of influence. It was now botli more numerous, and — by rea- 
son of its connection with the newspapers of Calcutta and of London 
— it was far better able to make its passion heard. 

During Lord Ripon's sympathetic administration the great out- 
burst occurred against the Ilbert Bill in 1883. We are face to 
face with a similar phenomenon today, when we see the European 
Associations under the leadership of the Madras Mail, the English- 
man of Calcutta, the Pioneer of Allahabad, the Civil and Military 
Gazette of Lahore, with their Tory and Unionist allies in the Lon- 
don press, and with the aid of retired Indian officials and non- 
officials in England — desperately resisting the Reforms now pro- 
posed. Their opposition, we know, is a danger to the movement 
towards Freedom, and even when they have failed to impress 
England — as they are evidently failing — they will try to minimise 
or smother here the reforms which a statute has embodied. The 
Minto-Morley reforms were thus robbed of their usefulness, and 
a similar attempt, if not guarded against, will be made when 
the Congress-League Scheme is used as the basis for an Act. 

(d) The Re-action on England 
We cannot leave out of account here the deadly harm done to 
England herself by this un-English system of rule in India. Mr. 
Hobson has pointed out: 


As our free Self-Governing Colonies have furnish hope, encourage- 
ment, and leading to the popular aspirations in Great Britain, not 
merely by practical success in the art of Self-Government, but by the 
wafting of a spirit of freedom and equality, so our despotically ruled 
dependencies have ever served to damage the character of our people 
by feeding the habits of snobbish subservience, the admiration of wealth 
and rank, the corrupt survivals of the inequalitie? of feudalism. . . . 
Cobden, writing in 1860 of our Indian Empire, put this pithy question : 
"Is it not just possible that we may become corrupted at home by the 
reaction of arbitrary political maxims in the East upon our domestic 
politics, just as Greece and Rome were demoralized by their contact 
with Asia?" Not merely is the reaction possible, it is inevitable. As 
the despotic portion of our Empire has grown in area, a larger number 
of men, trained in the temper and methods of autocracy, as soldiers and 
civil oflScials in our Crown Colonies, Protectorates and Indian Empire, 
reinforced by numbers of merchants, planters, engineers, and overseers, 
whose lives have been those of a superior caste, living an artificial life 
removed from all the healthy restraints of ordinary European society, 
have returned to this country, bringing back the characters, sentiments 
and ideas imposed by this foreign environment. 

It is a little hard on the I.C.S., that they should be foreigners 
here, and then, when they return to their native land, find that 
they have become foreigners there by the corrupting influence 
with which they are surrounded here. We import them as raw 
material to our own disadvantage, and when we export them as 
manufactured here. Great Britain and India alike suffer from 
their reactionary tendencies. The results are unsatisfactory to 
both sides. 

/ (e) The First Test Applied 

Let us now apply Gokhale's first test. What has the Bureau- 
cracy done for "education, sanitation, agricultural improvement, 
and so forth"? I must put the facts very briefly, but they are 

Education — The percentage to the whole population of children 
receiving education is 2.8, the percentage having risen by 0.9 
since Mr. Gokhale moved his Education Bill six years ago. But 
even this percentage is illusory. It is recognised by educationists 
that children, taught for less than four years, lose what they 
had learned during that time. In the Educational Statistics (Brit- 
ish India) for 1914-15, we find that 6,333,668 boys and 1,128,363 
girls were under instruction, 7,463,031 children in all. Of these 
5,434,576 had not passed the Lower Primary Stage, and of these 
1,680,561 could not even read. If these be deducted from the total, 
we have only 2,027,455 children receiving education useful to 
them, giving us the appalling figure of 83 per cent. The money 
spent on the 5i/^ millions might as well be thrown into the Bay 
of Bengal. The percentage of children of school-going age at- 
tending school was 20.4 at the end of 1915. In 1913 the Govern- 
ment of India put the number of pupils at 4^^ millions; this 
has been accomplished in 59 years, reckoning from Sir Charles 
Wood's Educational Despatch in 1854, which led to the formation 


of the Education Department. In 1870 an Education Act was 
passed in Great Britain, the condition of Education in England 
then much resembling our present position; grants-in-aid in 
England had been given since 1833, chiefly to Church Schools. 
Between 1870 and 1881 free and compulsory education was estab- 
lished, and in 12 years the attendance rose from 43.3 to nearly 
100 per cent. There are now 6,000,000 children in the schools of 
England and Wales out of a population of 40 millions. Japan, 
before 1872, had a proportion of 28 per cent, of children of school- 
going age in school, nearly 8 over our present proportion; in 24 
years the percentage was raised to 92, and in 28 years education 
was free and compulsory. In Baroda education is free and largely 
compulsory and the percentage of boys is 100 per cent. Travan- 
core has 81.1 per cent of boys and 33.2 of girls. Mysore has 
45.8 of boys and 9.7 of girls. Baroda spends As. 6.6 per head on 
school-going children, British India As. 3. Expenditure on edu- 
cation advanced between 1882 and 1907 by 57 lakhs. Land-revenue 
had increased by 8 crores, military expenditure by 13 crores, 
civil by 8 crores, and capital outlay on railways was 15 crores 
(I am quoting G. K. Gokhale's figures.). He ironically calculated 
that, if the population did not increase, every boy would be in 
school 115 years hence, and every girl in 665 years. Brother 
Delegates, we hope to do it more quickly under Home Rule. I 
submit that in Education the Bureaucracy is inefficient. 

Sanitation and Medical Relief. — The prevalence of plague, 
cholera, and above all malaria, show the lack of sanitation alike 
in town and country. This lack is- one of the causes contributing 
(,to the low average life period in India — 23.5 years. In England 
the life-period is 40 years, in New Zealand 60. The chief diffi- 
culty in the way of the treatment of disease is the encouragement 
of the foreign system of medicine, especially in rural parts, and 
the withholding of grants from the indigenous. Government 
Hospitals, Government Dispensaries, Government doctors, must 
all be on the foreign system. Ayurvaidic and Unani medicines. 
Hospitals, Dispensaries, Physicians, are unrecognized, and to 
"cover" the latter is "infamous" conduct. Travancore gives 
grants-in-aid to 72 Vaidyashalas, at which 143,505 patients — 22,000 
more than in allopathic institutions — were treated in 1914-15 
(the Report issued in 1917). Our Government cannot grapple 
with the medical needs of the people, yet will not allow the 
people's money to be spent on the systems they prefer. Under 
Home Rule,' the indigenous and foreign systems will be treated 
with impartiality. I grant that the allopathic doctors do their 
utmost to supply the need, and show great self-sacrifice, but the 
need is too vast and their numbers too few. Efficiency on their 
own lines in this matter is therefore impossible for our bureau- 
cratic Government; their fault lies in excluding the indigenous 
systems, which they have not condescended to examine before re- 

• 38 

Jecting them. The result is that in sanitation and medical relief 
the Bureacracy is inefficient. 

Agricultural Development — The census of 1911 gives the agri- 
cultural population at 218.3 .millions. Its frightful poverty is a 
matter of common knowledge; its ever-increasing load of indebt- 
edness has been dwelt on for at least the last thirty odd years 
by Sid Dinshaw E. Wacha. Yet the increasing debt is 
accompanied with increasing taxation, land-revenue having 
risen, as just stated, in 25 years, by 8 crores — 80,000,000 
— of rupees. In addition to this there are local cesses, 
salt-tax, etc. The salt-tax, which presses most hardly on the very 
poor, was raised in the last budget by Rs. 9 millions. The inevit- 
able result of this poverty is mal-nutrition, resulting in low vital- 
ity, lack of resistance to disease, short life-period, huge infantile 
mortality. Gopal Krishna Gokhale, no mischievous agitator, re- 
peated in 1905 the figures often quoted: 

Forty millions of people, according to one great Anglo-Indian au- 
thority — Sir William Hunter — pass through life with only one meal a 
day. According to another authority — Sir Charles Elliot — seventy mil- 
lions of people in India do not know what it is to have their hunger 
fully satisfied even once in the whole course of the year. The poverty 
of the people of India, thus considered by itself, is truly appalling. And 
If this is the state of things after a hundred years of your rule, you 
cannot claim that your principal aim in India has been the promotion 
of the interests of the Indian people. 

It is sometimes said: "Why harp on these figures? We know 
them." Our answer is that the fact is ever harping in the stomach 
of the people, and while it continues, we cannot cease to draw 
attention to it. And Gokhale urged that "even this deplorable 
condition has been further deteriorating steadily." We have no 
figures on malnutrition among the peasantry, but in Madras City, 
among an equally poor urban population, we found that 78 per 
cent, of our pupils were reported, after a medical inspection, to 
be suffering from malnutrition. And the spareness of frame, the 
thinness of arms and legs, the pitiably weak grip on life, speak 
without words to the seeing eye. It needs an extraordinary lack 
of imagination not to suffer while these things are going on. 

The peasants' grievances are many and have been voiced year 
after year by the Congress. The Forest Laws, made by legislators 
inappreciative of village difficulties, press hardly on them, and 
only in a small number of places have Forest Panchayads been 
established. In the few cases in which the experiment has been 
made the results have been good, in some cases marvellously good. 
The paucity of grazing grounds for their cattle, lack of green 
manure to feed their impoverished lands, absence of fencing 
round the forests so that the cattle stray in when feeding, 
are impounded and have to be redeemed, the fines and other pun- 
ishments imposed for offences ill-understood, the want of wood for 
fuel, for tools, for repairs, the uncertain distribution of the avail- 


able water, all these troubles are discussed in villages and in local 
Conferences. The Arms Act oppresses them, by leaving them de- 
fenceless against wild beasts and wild men. The union of Judicial 
and Executive functions makes justice often inaccessible, and 
always costly both in money and in time. The village officials 
naturally care more to please the Tausildar and the Collector than 
the villagers, to whom they are in no way responsible. And fac- 
tions flourish, because there is always a third party to whom to 
resort, who may be flattered if his rank be high, bribed if it be 
low, whose favour can be gained in either case by cringing and 
by subservience and tale-bearing. As regards the condition of 
agriculture in India, and the poverty of the agricultural popula- 
tion, the Bureaucracy is inefficient. 

The application of Mr. Gokhale's first test to Indian handicrafts, 
to the strengthening of weak industries and the creation of new, 
to the care of waterways for traffic and of the coast transport 
shipping, the protection of indigo and other indigenous dyes 
against their German synthetic rivals, etc., would show similar 
answers. We are suffering now from the supineness of the Bu- 
reaucracy as regards the development of the resources of the 
country, by its careless indifference to the usurping by Germans 
of some of those resources, and even now they are pursuing a 
similar policy of laissez faire towards Japanese enterprise, which, 
leaning on its own Government, is taking the place of Germany 
in shouldering Indians out of their own natural heritage. 

In all prosperous countries crafts are found side by side with 
agriculture, and they lend each other mutual support. The ex- 
treme poverty of Ireland, and the loss of more than half its pop- 
ulation by emigration, were the direct result of the destruction 
of its wool-industry by Great Britain, and the consequent throw- 
ing of the population entirely on the land for subsistence. A 
similar phenomenon has resulted here from a similar cause, but 
on a far more widespread scale. And liere, a novel and portentous 
change for India, "a considerable landless class is developing, 
which involves economic danger," as the Imperial Gazetteer re- 
marks, comparing the census returns of 1891 and 1901: "The 
ordinary agricultural labourers are employed on the land only 
during the busy seasons of the year, and in slack times a few 
are attracted to large trade-centers for temporary work." One 
recalls the influx into England of Irish labourers at harvest time. 
Professor Radhakamal Mukerji has laid stress on the older con- 
ditions of village life; he says: 

The village is still almost self-sufla.cing, and is in itself an economic 
unit. The village agriculturist grows all the food necessary for the 
inhabitants of the village. The smith makes the ploughshares for the 
cultivator, and the few iron utensils required for the household. He 
supplies these to the people, but does not get money in return. He is 
recompensed by mutual services from his fellow villagers. The potter 
supplies him with pots, the weaver with cloth, and the oilman with oil. 


Prom the cultivator each of these artisans receives his traditional share 
of grain. Thus almost all the economic transactions are carried on 
without the use of money. To the villagers money is only a store of 
value, not a medium of exchange. When they happen to be rich in 
money, they hoard it either in coins or make ornaments made of gold 
and silver. 

The conditions are changing in consequence of the pressure 
of the poverty driving the villagers to the city, where they learn 
to substitute the competition of the town for the mutual help- 
fulness of the village. The difference of feeling, the change 
from trustfulness to suspicion, may be seen by visiting villages 
which are in the vicinity of a town and comparing their vil- 
lagers with those who inhabit villages in purely rural areas. 
The economic and moral deterioration can only be checked by 
the re-establishment of a healthy and interesting village life 
and this depends upon the re-establishment of the Panchayat 
as the unit of government, a question which I deal with pres- 
ently. Village industries would then revive and an intercom- 
municating network would be formed by Co-operative Societies. 
Mr. C. P. Rameswami Aiyar says in his pamphlet, Go-Operative 
Societies and Panchayats: 

The one method by which this evil (emigration to towns) can be ar- 
x'ested and the economic and social standards of life of the rural peo- 
ple elevated is by the inauguration of healthy Panchayats in conjunction 
with the foundation of co-operative institutions, which will have the 
effect of resuscitating village industries, and of creating organized social 
forces. The Indian village, when rightly reconstructed, would be an 
excellent foundation for well-developed co-operative industrial organ- 

Again : 

The resuscitation of the village system has other bearings, not usually 
considered in connection with the general subject of the inauguration 
of the Panchayat system. One of the most important of these is the 
regeneration of the small industries of the land. Both in Europe and 
in India the decline of small industries has gone on paii passu with the 
decline of farming on a small scale. In countries like France agriculture 
has largely supported village industries, and small cultivators in that 
country have turned their attention to industry as a supplementary source 
of livelihood. The decline of village life in India is not only a political, 
but also an economic and industrial, problem. Whereas, in Europe the 
cultural impulse has traveled from the city to the village, in India 
the reverse has been the cast. The centre of social life in this country 
is the village, and not the town. Ours was essentially the cottage in- 
dustry, and our artisans still work in their own huts, more or less out 
of touch with the commercial world. Throughout the woi-ld the tend- 
ency has been of late to lay considerable emphasis on distributive and 
industrial co-operation, based on a system of village industries and en- 
terprise. Herein would be found the origins of the arts and crafts 
guilds and the garden cities, the idea underlying all these being to 
inaugurate a reign of Socialism and Co-operation, eradicating the en- 
tirely unequal distribution of wealth amongst producers and consumers. 
India has always been a country of small tenantry, and has thereby es- 
caped many of the evils of western nations have experienced owing to 
the concentration of wealth in a few hands. The communistic sense 
in our midst, and the fundamental tenets of our family life have checked 
such concentration of capital. This has been the cause for the non- 
development of factory industries on a large scale. 


The need for these changes — to which England is returning, 
after all full experience of the miseries of life in manufacturing 
towns — is pressing. 

Addressing an English audience, G. K. Gokhale summed up 
the general state of India as follows: 

Your average annual income has been estimated at about £42 per 
hoad. Ours, according to official estimates, is about £2 per head, and 
according to non-official estimates, only a little more than £] per head. 
Your imports per head are about £13 ; ours about 5.9. per head. The 
total deposits in your Postal Savings Bank amount to ]48 millions 
sterling, and you have in addition in the Trustees' Savings Banks about 
52 million sterling. Our Postal Savings Bank deposits, with a popula- 
tion seven times as large as yours, are only about 7 million sterling, 
and even of this a little over one-tenth is held by Europeans. Your 
total paid-up capital of joint stock companies is about 1,900 million 
sterling. Ours is not quote 26 million sterling and the greater part of 
this again is European. Four-fifths of our oeople are dependent upon 
agriculture, and agriculture has been for some time steadily deterio- 
rating. Indian agriculturists are too poor, and are. moreover, too heavily 
indebted, to be able to apply any capital to land, and the result is that 
over the greater part of India agriculture is, as Sir James Caird pointed 
out more than twenty-five years ago, only a process of exhaustion of 
the soil. Q^he yield per acre is steadily diminishing, being now only 
about eight to nine bushels an acre against about thirty bushels here 
in England. 

In all the matters which come under Gokhale's first test, the 
Bureaucracy has been and is inefficient. 

(f) Give Indians a Chance 
All we say in the matter is: You have not succeeded in bring- 
ing education, health, prosperity, to the masses of the people. 
Is it not time to give Indians a chance of doing for their own 
country work similar to that which Japan and other nations 
have done for theirs? Surely the claim is not unreasonable. 
If the Anglo-Indians say that the masses are their peculiar 
trust, and that educated classes care not for them but only for 
place and power, then we point to the Congress, to the speeches 
and the resolutions eloquent of their love and their knowledge. 
It is not their fault that they gaze on their country's poverty 
in helpless despair. Or let Mr. Justice Rahim answer: 

As for the representation of the interests of the many scores of 
millions in India, if the claim be that they are better represented by 
European officials than by educated Indian officials or non-officials, it 
is difficult to conceive how such a reckless claim has come to be urged. 
The inability of English officials to master the spoken languages of 
India, and their habits of life and modes of thought so completely 
divide them from the general population, that only an extremely lim- 
ited few, possessed with extraordinary powers of insight", have ever 
been able to surmount the barriers. With the educated Indians, on the 
other hand, this knowledge is instinctive, and the view of religion and 
custom, so strong in the East, make their knowledge and sympathy 
more real tl an is to be seen in countries dominated by materialistic 

And it must be remembered that it is not lack of ability which 
has brought about bureaucratic inefficiency, for British traders 


anti producers have done uncommonly well for themselves in 
India. But a Bureaucracy does not trouble itself about mat- 
ters of this kind; the Russian Bureaucracy did not concern it- 
self with the happiness of the Russian masses, but with their 
obedience and tlteir paying of taxes. Bureaucracies are the same 
everywhere, and therefore it is the system we wage war upon, 
not the men; we do not want to substitute Indian bureaucrats 
for British bureaucrats; we want to abolish Bureaucracy, Gov- 
ernment by Civil Servants. 

(g) The Other Tests Applied 

I need not delay over the second, third and fourth tests, for 
the answers sautent aux yeux. 

The second test, Local 8 elf -Government: Under Lord Mayo 
(1869-72) some attempts were made at decentralization, called 
by Keene "Home Rule," ( ! ) and his policy was followed, on 
non-financial lines, as well by Lord Ripon, who tried to infuse 
into what Keene calls "the germs of Home Rule," "the breath 
of life." Now in 1917, an» experimental and limited measure 
of local Home Rule is to be tried in Bengal, Though the report 
of the Decentralization Committee was published in 1909, we 
have not yet arrived at the universal election of non-official 
Chairmen. Decidedly inefficient is the Bureaucracy under test 

The third test, a Voice in the Councils: The part played by 
Indian elected members in the Legislative Council, Madras, was 
lately described by a member as "a farce." The Supreme Legis- 
lative Council was called by one of its members "a glorified De- 
bating Society." A table of resolutions proposed by Indian 
elected members, and passed or lost, was lately drawn up, and 
justified the caustic epithets. With regard to the Minto-Morley 
reforms, the Bureaucracy showed great efficiency in destroying 
the benefits intended by the Parliamentary Statute. But the 
third test shows that in giving Indians a fair voice in the Coun- 
cils the Bureaucracy was inefficient. 

The fourth test, the Admission of Indians to the Public Serv- 
ices: This is shown, by the report of the Commission, not to 
need any destructive activity on the part of the Bureaucracy to 
prove their unwillingness to pass it, for the report protects 
them in their privileged position. 

We may add to Gokhale's tests one more, which will be tri- 
umphantly passed, the success of the Bureaucracy in increasing 
the cost of administration. The estimates for the revenue of 
the present year stand at £86,199,600 sterling. The expenditure 


is reckoned at £85,572,100 sterling. The cost of administration 
stands at more than half the total revenue: 

Civil departments, salaries and expenses £19,323,300 

Civil miscellaneous charges 5,283,300 

Military service 23,165,900 


The reduction of the abnormal cost of Government in India 
Is of the most pressing nature, but this will never be done until 
we win Home Rule. 

It will be seen that the Secondary Reasons for the demand 
for Home Rule are of the weightiest nature in themselves, and 
show the necessity for its grant if India is to escape from a 
poverty which threatens to lead to national bankruptcy, as it 
has already led to a short life-period and a high death rate, to 
wide-spread disease, and to a growing exhaustion of the soil. 
That some radical change must be brought about in the condi- 
tion of our masses if a Revolution of Hunger is to be averted, 
is patent to all students of history, who also know the poverty 
of the Indian masses today. This . economic condition is due 
to many causes, of which the inevitable lack of understanding 
by an alien Government is only one, A system of Government 
suitable to the West was forced on the East, destroying its 
own democratic and communal institutions, and imposing bureau- 
cratic methods which bewildered and deteriorated a people to 
whom they were strange and repellant. The result is not a 
matter for recrimination, but for change. An inappropriate sys- 
tem, forced on an already highly civilized people was bound to 
fail. It has been rightly said that the poor only revolt, when 
the misery they are enduring is greater than the danger of re- 
volt. We need Home Rule to stop the daily suffering of our 
millions from the diminishing yield of the soil and the decay 
of village industries. 

Administrative Reforms 
These fall under the heads of: 

1. Reforms in the Government of India. 

2. Reforms in the Governments of Provinces. 

3. Reforms in Local Self-Government. 

I prefer to take these in reverse order, building up the scheme 
of Government from its foundation, so that it may appear as a 
coherent whole, its parts interdependent. But I will say at the 
outset to preclude mistake, that no scheme of Local Self-Gov- 
ernment can succeed unless the changes asked for last year 
in the Congress-League Scheme are granted. That scheme is 
our irreducible minimum for reforms worthy of the name. The 
long and futile tinkering at Local Self-Government since the 
days of Lord Ripon has conclusively proved that you can no 


more have reality of Local Self-Government with unrepresent- 
ative Provincial Legislative Councils, or with such Councils as 
we have now — save in Bengal — with an official and nominated 
majority of members, with a complete British Executive, or 
a four to one British majority Executive, in which the solitary 
Indian member lends cover to objectionable measures which 
he is powerless to prevent, than you could have a healthy body 
with a diseased or undeveloped brain. Healthy brain, directing 
and controlling, must go with a healthy body. A foreign Ex- 
ecutive distrustful of Indian capacity to govern, busies itself 
more with official check and controls than with the powers of 
the local membership. We are tired of this grand motherly 
legislation. If the Anglo-Indians think us babies — very well — 
let the babies crawl by themselves, get up and try to walk and 
then tumble down until by tumbles they learn equilibrium. If 
they learn to walk in leading strings they will always develop 
bowlegs. But let me remark in passing, that wherever the In- 
dians have been tried fairly, they have always succeeded. If 
the Governments of India and Great Britain, under official pres- 
sure, begin with local Self-Government, and demand success 
in that department — or in any departments, before they agree 
to the Congress League Scheme, at least — it means that they 
are marking time and are not making any real step forward. 
And let me say to the Governments of India and Britain, with 
all frankness and good will, that India is demanding her rights, 
and is not begging for concessions. It is for her to say with 
what she will be satisfied — I appeal to the statement of the 
Premier of Great Britain on support of my assertion — and not 
for any other authority to say to her: "Thus far, and no fur- 
ther." In this attitude the Democracy of Great Britain sup- 
ports us; the Allies, fighting, as Mr. Asquith said, "for nothing 
short of freedom," support us; the great Republic of the United 
States of America supports us. Britain cannot deny her own 
traditions, contradict her own leading statesmen, and shame 
the free Commonwealth of which she is the glorious Head, to 
the face of the world. » 

Unfit for Democracy? 
We have been assured time after time, even to weariness, 
that India is totally unfit for Democratic institutions, having 
always lived under absolute rule of sorts. But that is not the 
opinion of historians, based on facts, though it may be the 
opinion of the Indian Civil Service, based on prejudices. As 
well said in the address presented to H. E. the Viceroy and 
the Rt. Hon. Mr. Montagu by the Home Rule Leagues: 

The argument that democracy is foreign to India cannot be alleged 
by any well-informed person. Maine and other historians recognize the 
fact that Democratic Institutions are essentially Aryan, and spread 
from India to Europe with the immigration of Aryan peoples ; Pan- 


chayats, the "village republics," had been the most stable institution 
of India, and only vanished during the last century under the pressure 
of the East India Company's domination. They still exist within the 
castes, each caste forming within itself a thorough democracy, in which 
the same man may have as relations a prince and a peasant. Social 
rank does not depend so much on wealth and title, as on learning and 
occupation. India is democratic in spirit, and in institutions left to 
her from the past and under her control in the present. 

We have further the testimony of eminent Englishmen. 

Sir John Lawrence said as long ago as 1864: 

The people of India are quite capable of administering their own 
affairs, and the municipal feeling is deeply rooted in them. The village 
communities, each of which is a little republic, are the most abiding 
of Indian institutions. Holding the position we do in India, every 
view of duty and policy should induce us to leave as much as possible 
of the business of the country to be done by the people. 

Sir Bartle Frere, in 1871, wrote: 

Any one who has watched the working of Indian society will see that 
its genius is one to represent, not merely by election under Reform Acts, 
but represent generally by provisions, every class of the community, and 
when there is any difficulty respecting any matter to be laid before 
Government, it should be discussed among themselves. When there is 
any fellow-citizen to be rewarded or punished, there is always a caste 
meeting and this is an expression, it seems to me, of the genius of the 
people, as it was of the old Saxons, to gather together in assemblies 
of different types to vote by tribes or hundreds. 

As Mr. Chisholm Austey said: 

We are apt to forgot in this count^-y. when we talk of preparing peo- 
ple in the East by education, and all that sort of thing, foi; Municipal 
Government and Parliamentary Government (if I may use such a term), 
that the East is the parent of Municipalities. Local Self-Government, in 
the widest acceptation of the term, is as old as the East itself. No 
matter what may be the religion of the people who inhabit what we 
call the East, there is not a portion of the country from west to east, 
from north to south, which is not swarming with municipalities, and 
not only so, but like to our municipalities of old, they are all bound 
together as in a species of network, so that you have ready-made to 
your hand the framework of a great system of representation. 

I might multiply these quotations, but to what end? The 
wise know them; the other-wise will not accept them, pipe we 
never so forcefully. 

IVith these prefactory remarks, I proceed to consider the 

Reforms in Local Self-government 

(a) General Principles 

We have three extending areas to consider: (1) The Village; 
(2) the Group of Villages, each separated from others by larger 
or smaller spaces of land; this group plus the intervening lands 
forms the second area of control; (3) the District, consisting 
of conterminous Taluqs or Tahsils, for the most part, but also 
of tracts of waste and forest lands, owned by the Government. 

There is an interesting reminiscence in this sort of group- 
ing; there was a headman over a village; a higher grade 
of headman over a group of ten villages; a higher yet over one 


hundred villages, and so on in multiples of ten. The ancients 
liked this regular ascending scale; they liked to see orderly 

In the village, the electorate should be its resident house- 
holders, whether owners or occupiers, "that that which concerns 
all may be judged by all." This gives to the man or woman 
resident a voice in the country, but the direct power is limited 
to electing representatives to deal with the questions immedi- 
ately affecting the voter, while indirectly he reaches up through 
the higher grades to the governing of the whole country. Later, 
as education and experience spread, universal suffrage will elect 
our Legislative Councils, supreme and local. We take a leaf 
from England's book, and do not at first give the direct suf- 
frage to the laborers except for the local Council. We make 
the electorate for the Provincial Legislative Council conterm- 
inous with the electorate of Taluq Boards. 

We then distribute duties and powers on the principle that 
whatever belongs to the village exclusively should be controlled 
by the Village Council, while where a village institution is a 
fragment of a larger whole, the whole should be planned by 
the Council in the area of whose authority the whole exists, 
and the village fragment be assigned to it by the higher Coun- 
cil, to whom the Village Council should be responsible for its 
management of its own fragment. Let us take a school as illus- 
tration, and suppose that the educational scheme for the Prov- 
ince should be planned out by the Education Department of the 
Provincial Government, and sanctioned by the Provincial Coun- 
cil; it would include Provincial University or Universities, Col- 
leges, High Schools, Secondary Schools, Primary Schools, each 
with its manual training institute of similar grade attached to 
it, and these having divisions for general manual training, and 
the closer instruction of the workshops for those learning a 
trade as a means of livelihood. Every village would have its 
Elementary School, with the workshops needed in that partic- 
ular village for the trades practiced therein; probably there 
would be a Secondary School in every Firka (Revenue Circle) ; 
at least one High School in every Taluq, and in most Taluqs 
more than one; a College, or more, in each District; one or 
more Universities for the Province. But the Village Panchayat 
would be responsible only for its own Elementary School, and 
for seeing that any promising boy or girl should be sent on to 
the Firka Secondary School. By this the School would be linked 
on to the larger life beyond the village, but its own control 
would be only over its own School, seeing that its share of the 
Provincial Education was carried out. 

(t) The Panchayat 
The existence of Village Communities in India from time 
Immemorial, with a considerable amount of organization, is 


a matter of common knowledge, and in some parts of the coun- 
try many inscriptions and records have been discovered which 
enable us to reconstruct the village life which continued in the 
south of India to the last century, and in Burma to our own 
time. It received its death blow by Sir Thomas Munro's indi- 
vidualistic raiyatwari scheme, and has been losing vitality since 
1820. Mr. C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar, in the pamphlet before 
quoted, remarks: 

In Kautilya's Arthashastra, Book III, Vol. 10, villages are contem- 
plated as constructing and maintaining in their corporate capaciy works 
of public utility : and Professor Rhys Davids says : "Villagers are de- 
scribed in the Buddhist books as uniting all their care to build mohallas 
and rest-houses, to mend the roads between their own and adjacent 
vilLages, and even to lay out parks." {Vide P. Bannerji's Public Admin- 
istration in Ancient India, p. 293, note 2.) In Mysore, now in manys 
districts, the villagers give half a day's work free, per week, for works 
of public utility, and the aggregate value ot the work done is astound- 
ing. Every village in the times of the Arthashastra (4th century, B. 
C, formed an integral part of the general administrative system and 
the village was the foundation of the governmental edifice. The village 
Government of those days partook not oaly of the adminisrration of 
executive, but also of judiciary functions, as will appear from the 
Ceylon inscriptions dealing with the administration of criminal justice 
of communal courts. To the credit of the Madras Government it must 
be said that, as against Sir T. Munro, who was a thorough individ- 
ualist, the Madras Board of Revenue desired in the early years of the 
last century to leave the authority of the village institutions unimpaired. 
But Sir Thomas Munro had his way, and the village communities lost 
theii vitality. 

The last Administration Report of Mysore (1915-16), says (p. 
278) on "The Village Improvement Scheme," that "the villagers 
contributed Rs. 47,083 either in cash or in labor" during the 
year, the Government helping with grants amounting to Rs. 
44,978. It says: 

The village committee continued to evince much interest in this work, 
and many works of public utility, such as construction of school build- 
ings, sinking wells and opening roads, clearing lantana and planting 
trees, were carried out through its associations throughout the State. 

Conferences of the village committees were held in four 
districts, "to take stock of the work done by the committees, 
to discuss the needs and requirements of the rural population, 
and to concert measures and draw up programmes of improving 
the economic and sanitary condition of the villages." The vil- 
lagers fall in gladly with this communal work, which is on 
their traditional lines, giving definite amounts of free labor, as 
stated above, to the improvement of their village. The old 
sense of communal obligation still survives, and the Mysore 
Government has wisely utilized and fostered it. 

The characteristics of the village were a group of houses sur- 
rounded by a large tract of land, arable and pasture; each 
resident had a site free of rent for house, yard and garden. 
The establishment consisted of the officers and craftsmen, whose 


services were free to all, and who were given land, and various 
other rights to shares of produce, as remuneration. They con- 
sisted of a headman, an accountant, a watchman who also dis- 
charged some police functions, a boundaryman, a superintendent 
of tanks and water courses, a pujari, a school master, an as- 
trologer, a doctor, a musician, a poet, a dancing girl, a barber, 
a washerman, a cowkeeper, a potter, a smith and a carpenter. 
The village assembly governed, elected by "portickets," and 
formed committees for branches of work; the land was com- 
munal property and co-distributed from time to time. All house- 
holders appear to have had votes, but certain qualifications were 
laid down for eligibility for election as a Pancha (Councillor), 

In the report of the Decentralization Committee appointed in 
1907 by Edward VII— composed of five Englishmen and one In- 
dian, Romesh Chandra Dutt — Part III, Chapter XVIII, iii, section 
694, read: 

Throughout the greater part of India the village constitutes the pri- 
mary territorial unit of Government organization, and from the vil- 
lages are built up larger administrative entities. 

The village is described from the Gazetteer as above from 
older sources, with its "customary titles and its little staff of 
functionaries, artisans and traders." These villages, says the 
report, "formerly possessed a large degree of local autonomy," 

This autonomy has now disappeared owing to the establishment of 
local Civil and Criminal Courts, the present revenue and police organi- 
zation, the increase of communication, the growth of individualism, 
and the operation of the individual raiyatwari system which is ex- 
tending even in the north of India. Nevertheless, the village remains 
the first unit of administration, the principal village functionaries — the 
headman, the accountant and the village watchman — are largely utilized 
and paid by Government, and there is still a certain amount of com- 
mon village feeling and interest. 

"Paid by Government," — those three words explain the killing 
of the old village system. The ofiicials became the servants of 
a higher official — Sub-Tahsildar, Tahsildar, Deputy Collector or 
Collector — looking to him for favor and reward, not to the vil- 
lagers. Thus they became village tyrants instead of village 
servants, and the Soul of the Village, the responsibility to one's 
brother villagers, died. 

It Is admitted that the village communities have disintegrated 
under British administration, but the report urges their re-estab- 
lishment. It seems that some witness doubted "whether the 
people are sufficiently advanced in education and independence 
for any measure of village autonomy"; there speaks the spirit 
of the bureaucrat. The villages had been autonomous for thou- 
sands of years; invasions, changes of rule, lapse of time, had 
left them active; a century and a half of British rule had made 
them unfit, in this witness' mind, to manage their own affairs. 


Why this strange deterioration under a rule supposed to be 
uplifting? Because, on the Procrustes-bed of Bureaucracy, all 
that did not fit it had to be chopped off; the villagers had their 
own ways, which had served them well, but they were not the 
Collector's ways, so they were bad. Only Home Rule will rein- 
tegrate Village Government. 

However, the report desires the development of a Panchayat 
system, and says (s 736) : 

We consider that as Local Self-Government should commence in the 
village with the establishment of Village Panchayats, so the next step 
should be the constitution of boards for areas of smaller size than a 
district. We desire, therefore, to see sub-district boards universally 
established as the principal agencies of rural board associations. 

Unhappily it adds to its recommendation a condition which, 
however well meant, would ensure its being still born as a dead 
failure, for it is essential, says the report, that the Panchayat 

Should bo completely under the eyo and hand of the district authori- 
ties. Supervision of affairs in the villages is, and should remain, one 
of the main functions of Tahsildars and Sub-Divisional Officers. 

Tie up a baby's arms and legs and then leave it to teach itself 
to walk. If it does not succeed, blame the baby. The free baby 
will learn equilibrium through tumbles; the tied-up baby will 
become paralyzed and will never walk. 

I hope that our Secretary of State will establish Panchayats 
by an act based on the admirable one drawn up by the Hon. 
Mr. T. Rangachariar, that he tried vainly to introduce in the 
Madras Legislative Council. I have handed it to him with Mr. 
Rangachariar's careful and weighty monograph, and it may 
be that the rejected of Madras may be the accepted of West- 
minster. The Act will be found as Appendix III. 

I may quote here, on the establishment of Panchayats, what 
I have said elsewhere: 

Village needs would thus be made known, and, if necessary, 
they could be represented by the Panchayat to a higher au- 
thority. The village would become articulate through its Pan- 
chayat, and would no longer be the dumb and often driven 
creature which it is today. And it would be brought into touch 
with the larger life. The Panchayat might invite lecturers, or- 
ganize discussions, arrange amusements, games, etc. All vil- 
lage life would be lifted to a higher level, widened and enriched 
by such organization, and each village, further, forming one of 
a group of villages, would realize its unity with others, and 
thus become an organ of the larger corporate life. 

The corresponding unit in the Towns to the Village in the 
country is the Ward, and the Ward Panchayat, like the Village 
one, should be elected by Household Suffrage. All towns with 
populations over 5,000 should have Ward Panchayats under 
control of the Municipality. Below that population a Ward Pan- 


cha3^t would be the only municipal authority. These Ward 
Councils should take up the smaller town matters, now neg- 
lected, because the Municipality is too heavily burdened to at- 
tend to them properly. The Elementary Schools in each Ward 
should be in its charge; scavenging and sanitation generally, 
and care for the cleanliness of the streets and latrines; provision 
and superintendence of stands for hire vehicles and resting 
carts, with water troughs for horses and cattle; the inspection 
of foodstuffs and prevention of adulteration; arbitration in small 
disputes as in Prance — where so much litigation is prevented 
by the appointment of a small tradesman as a local judge — 
inspection of workshops, wells, etc. — all these matters would 
naturally fall into the hands of the Ward Councils. Where 
there is a Municipality, that body would delegate to the Ward 
Council such matters as it thought fit. 

The Taluq or Tahsil Board 

The next rung in the ladder of Local Self-Government will be 
the body intermediate between the Panchayat and the District 
Board; the name will vary in different Provinces. With us in 
Madras, the Presidency is divided into 26 Districts and these 
into 96 Taluqs; for general purposes there may, if preferred, 
be termed Sub-Districts, the name used in the Decentralization 
Commission Report. But the Taluq, or its corresponding di- 
vision outside Madras, should be the area controlled by the 
Board. The report calls them Sub-District Boards, but itself 
suggests the better name of Taluq or Tahsil, taking these defi- 
nite areas, already existing, as the area of control for the Boards 
intermediate between Panchayats and District Board. In each 
of these there should be a Board, its electorate consisting of the 
Panchayats in its area, and of all persons now qualified to vote 
in Firkas; the qualification is only a property one and may be 
amended later. The Panchas would thus have a second vote, 
earned by public service, and would have their special repre- 
sentatives on the Taluq Board, each representing his own vil- 
lage's common interests. The Decentralization Report strongly 
urges that these Boards should form an essential part of the 
scheme of Local Self-Government, with adequate resources and 
a large measure of independence. 

Their functions should include control of Secondary and High 
Schools, with Model Farms in rural, and Technical Institutes 
in urban, areas. Inter-village roads and their lighting, where 
necessary, water-ways and irrigation channels outside villages, 
but within the Taluq, should be under their care. They should 
form Co-operative Societies, and where these are not estab- 
lished, they should hold agricultural machinery for hiring to 
villagers, establish granaries for storage of grain, dairy farms, 
with stud bulls to be hired to villagers, breeding stables of 


horses, and generally they should organize industry wherever 
Co-operative Societies are -not available. 

(d) District Boards 

Some of our political reforms would abolish District Boards. 
As at present advised, I prefer to keep them. 

This third grade upwards of Local Self-Government consists 
of the District Boards in the country and Municipalities in the 
larger towns. The electorate of the District Board should be 
the Taluq Boards under its jurisdiction, and the general Taluq 
electorate. This gives every Taluq Board members a second 
vote, as in the case of Panchas, deserved by public work. 

Their functions would be to discharge all the duties which 
affect the District as a whole, to supervise the Taluq Boards, 
and to decide any appeals by Panchayats from a Taluq Board 
decision. They would assign the proportion of local taxation to 
be raised by each Taluq, and the grants to be made to each 
from the grant received from the Provincial Council for the 
District. They would appoint the necessary District Officers, 
such as Engineer for the District Public Works Department, 
the Inspector of Secondary and High Schools in the Taluqs, 
the Sanitary Inspector, etc. Public roads, local railways and 
water ways would be under their inspection. The District Town 
would include the usual District buildings, and* the District Col- 
leges for Arts, Science, Agriculture, Industries, Crafts. 

Even in Lord Ripon's time there was a feeble organization 
making for Self-Government. Keene remarks: 

The germ of Home Rule already existed, not only in the traditional 
institutions of the rural communes so often described, but in towns and 
cities where — in whatever leading strings — local bodies regulated the 
conservancy and the watch-and-ward of the streets. 

Slow as progress has been, yet some progress has been made, 
and when these Boards are wholly elective, have elected chair- 
men, and real power over their own areas, the progress will be 
rapid. When Local Self-Government is established as an es- 
sential part of Home Rule, we shall see the Village Panchayat 
abolishing such degrading punishments as the stocks and flog- 
ging, and the villagers will be treated as free men, worthy of 
respect. Moreover, agriculture will be taught at convenient cen- 
ters, and model farms will be established both for training and 
experiment. Mysore has three such farms. The raiyats will be 
helped to improved methods of cultivation, suitable manures, 
and clean seed of the best kinds. The Forest Laws will be mod- 
ified and the ancient fashion of rings of grazing ground will be 
provided for their cattle. In Mysore, "the major portions of the 
forests were thrown open," says the last report, "for the grazing 
of cattle of all descriptions, except goats." Panchayats will 
supervise village schools suitable to the circumstances of the 


village, and training for adult raiyats willing to learn, while 
Taluq Boards will, as suggested, arrange for the provision of 
stud bulls, grain storage, agricultural machinery, etc., at reason- 
able terms for hire. Boys of bright intelligence will have the 
opportunity, through scholarships, of rising through Schools to 
College, or of good agricultural or industrial or craft training. 
These things are not dreams, but things done in other civilized 
countries, where the people have Home Rule. In the Educa- 
tional Rescript of the Emperor of Japan, published in 1872, he 
directed that "henceforth Education shall be so diffused that 
there may not be a village with an ignorant family, nor a fam- 
ily with an ignorant member." Twenty-four years later, as we 
have seen, 92 per cent of the Japanese children of school-going 
age were in school. Why should not Indians do as well as 
Japanese, when here also education is controlled by men of 
their own race? For it must not be forgotten that the educated 
class is rooted in their ancestral villages, and many relatives 
of Vakils are Raiyats. Despite the caste system, there is much 
more blending of classes here than in the West, and the village 
and town populations are closely inter-related. The bright boy 
of a Raiyat's family becomes a Vakil, while the duller remains 
a Raiyat. This keen sympathy has been shown in the earnest 
but futile resolutions of the Congress from its second session 
onwards, and when we have Home Rule the resolutions will 
become operative. 

(e) Local Government Board 

The Local Government system must have at its head a Local 
Government Board, and its functions must be defined by an Act 
of the Provincial Legislative Council, on the lines of the Local 
Government Board Act of 1871, and the subsequent cognate 
enactments, as proposed in the address of the Home Rule 
Leagues presented last month in Delhi. The remarks of the 
Royal Sanitary Commission in England in 1879 are very apposite 
here, though naturally spoken there, under the circumstances, 
of the need of a central sanitary officer: 

One recognized and sufficiently powerful Minister, not to centralize 
administration, but, on tiie contrary, to set local life in motion — a 
real motive power, and an authority to be referred to for assistance 
and guidance by all the sanitary authorities for local Government 
throughout the country. 

The Commissioners go on to describe the difliculties besetting 
Local Government in England, in words which recall the de- 
spairing remarks of our Municipal President in Madras : 

Great is the vis inertiae to be overcome ; the repugnance to self- 
taxation ; the practical distrust of science ; and the number of persons 
interested in offending against sanitary laws, even amongst those who 
must constitute chiefly the local authorities to enforce them. 


These difficulties are alleged by Englishmen in India as rea- 
sons for withholding complete local Self-Government, and for 
making timid experiments that may continue for centuries. 
Englishmen in England, face to face with similar difficulties, 
find in them only reasons for setting "local life in motion." 

The object of the English Act was 

To concentrate in one department of the Government the supervision 
of the laws relating to public health, the relief of the poor, and local 

The Board is composed of unpaid members who do noth 
ing — the Lord President of the Council, all the Secretaries of 
State, the Lord Privy Seal and the Chancellor of the Exchequer 
— a most august and reverend body. All the Board is empowered 
to do can be done, and is so done, by the President of the 
Board, who sits in Parliament and is generally a Cabinet Minister, 
and has a salary of £2,600 a year. He has a Permanent Sec 
retary with five assistants, a Legal Adviser, a Chief Engineer 
ing Inspector, a Chief Medical Officer, with a staff of medical 
inspectors, architects and engineers, with the "ordinary staff 
of a Government Office". If, under our scheme of the Executive 
Council ,an Indian member was the President of the Local Gov- 
ernment, omitting the ornamental Board, it might suffice. 

The "growth of the Functions of the Board" is indicated 
by its absorption of the duties of the Poor Law Commissioners 
and Poor Law Boards by 41 Acts of Parliament between 1835 
and 1870, and by 154 Acts between 1871 and 1907, both inclusive. 
The legal authority states that the lists are probably "not ex- 
austlve." They suffice. On Regulations, Orders, Bye Laws, 
et hoc genus omne, I do not dare to enter. The President of 
our Board, when appointed, may study them. 

Pbovincial Legislative Council and Supbeme Legislative 

The Scheme of the National Congress and the All India Muslim 
League has been before the country for a year, and has been 
presented to the Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India. 
It is printed as Appendix IV. I do not discuss it here, as it 
has been fully discussed, from all points of view, during the 
past two years. We have all worked for it, honestly and zeal- 
ously, confining ourselves within its four corners. We have 
now to remember that we have the duty of helping the country 
to work under it during the transitional period for which it 
was designed — differing in this from the Memorandum of the 
Nineteen, which was suggested as containing Post War Reforms. 
The Congress League scheme was, professedly, a bridge, leading 


from the present condition to that considered in the third part 
of last year's Congress Resolution: 

That, In the Reconstruction of the Empire, India shall be lifted 
from the position of a Dependency to that of an equal partner in the 
Empire with the Self-Governing Dominions. 

That now becomes our Objective. We must continue to 
agitate for the Congress Scheme until it is passed. The final 
scheme will, of course, include the place of the Indian States 
under completed Self-Government, and of the representation of 
India in the Central Imperial Council, or Parliament, or Cabinet 
— questions which were deliberately left out of our transitional 

On the general question of the work of the Provisional Legis- 
lative Councils, I may perhaps say that it will be their duty to 
make grants to District Boards which, in turn, will distribute 
them to the Taluq and Village Boards in their area. No inter- 
ference with their use of grants should be made, save where 
palpable irregularities justify the interference of the Local Gov- 
ernment. Precedent, Freedom to work and to blunder — to a 
non-ruinous extent — must be allowed if Local Self-Government 
is to become a reality. 

Another large portion of their work will be the fostering of 
industries in their Provinces, and the helping of the District 
Boards by experiments of general utility, so as to prevent use- 
less reduplications of research. Thus, in Mysore, experiments 
were carried on with respect to ragi, paddy, sugar-cane, ground- 
nut, areca-nut and cotton, useful to the whole State, Demon- 
strations in the use of machinery and apparatus — churns, 
ploughs, seed drills, etc. — would probably be conducted best by 
Provincial Officers. So also demonstrations of improved methods 
of jaggery-making, of preservation of cattle-manure, that, in 
Mysore, were attended by gatherings of raiyats. Lectures and 
distribution of vernacular literature were also carried on there. 
Six new kinds of ploughs were introduced, and sold by the re- 
purchase system. Mineral and chemical analyses, mycological 
and entomological research are also best carried on at a well- 
equipped Central Institute. But these divisions will be settled 
by experience. It is good to read that, in Mysore, the raiyats 
warmly welcomed the instruction offered. 

I mention these facts in order to show something of what is 
being done by Indians for Indians in an Indian State. It may 
reassure the timid, and make them feel that Home Rule implies 
prosperity, and not catastrophe. 

Self-Goveenment by Compabtment 
Lately, a new scheme has been sprung on the country, after 
careful preliminary notices and hints in the Anglo-Indian Press. 


It is known as "Self -Government by compartments". It is eagerly- 
snatched at by the Europeans, and creates a double set or author- 
ities, one on the present lines, irresponsible to the people and 
with control of the purse, in which all real power is vested; the 
other a similacrum, or wraith, of a responsible Ministry and an 
elected Assembly, ruling a department, or departments, of the 
Government, to be given more power if the real Government 
approves of them, to be deprived of power if the real Govern- 
ment disapproves of them. The real Government can ensure 
their failure, by giving them such important departments as 
Education and Sanitation, which need a very heavy outlay, and 
restricting the funds allowed to them on the plea of necessity 
They can then be dismissed with contumely as incompetent. 
The lesson of Local Government should be laid to heart, for 
that has been a trial of a similar system, in which officials 
have played the part of the real Government in the new scheme. 
Or the real Government may give them unimportant depart- 
ments on which to try their 'prentice hands, so that failure 
may not matter, and the country will be indifferent to them. 
There are many other objections to the scheme, which is verily 
the giving of a stone for bread. But the root objection is that 
it keeps India entirely subordinate, when she demands Self- 
Government. It breathes the deep distrust of Indian capacity, 
characteristic of the Bureaucracy, and makes the preposterous 
claim that India is to remain in leading strings because another 
Nation claims the right to rule her, and to give her crumbs 
of freedom from its own well-spread table. It is the negation 
of every principle which Britain and her Allies have proclaimed 
in the face of the world. The Congress has asked for a definite 
scheme of Reforms; it can be satisfied with nothing less than the 
adoption of their essential principles. We may ask for more; 
we cannot ask for less. Nations go forward, not backward in 
their struggle for Freedom. 


If, as I suppose, you will send a Deputation to England, to 
discuss the actual Statute which will have to be passed in Par- 
liament to give effect to the Scheme, you would do well to give 
them a mandate to stand unflinchingly by the essential prin- 
ciples of the scheme: the substantial majority in the Supreme 
and Provincial Legislative Councils, and the power of the purse. 
If these are not granted, further discussion is useless; if they 
are, then we CFfn discuss subsidiary matters. 

If such a Dtputation be sent, we must agitate strongly and 
steadily here in support of it. It is said that the battle of 
India is to be fought in Britain. In the sense that we must 
put our demands clearly before Britain, that is true. But the 


real' battle must be fought here, for Britain will naturally 
limit her legislation to that which India strongly demands. 
The great Labour party will help us with its votes, but we must 
show, by our attitude here, that we are determined to win 
our Freedom. 


There is also much work to do in helping the people to pre- 
pare themselves for the new powers which will be placed in 
their hands. And for this, the work must be done in the ver- 
naculars of each Province, as only by their mother-tongue can 
the heart and brain of the masses be reached. 

Sooner or later, preferably sooner. Provinces will have to be 
re-delimited on a linguistic basis. The official languages, for a 
time, will have to be two, the Vernacular and English, as in 
some parts of Canada, French and English are used. Only 
then will the masses be able to take their full share in public 

The New Objective 

Wtiat is to be our new Objective? 

We have to formulate a scheme to carry out the third part of 
the Congress Resolution; we can do this only so far as British 
India is concerned: (i) The place of the Indian States will 
have to be considered by the United Kingdom in the light 
of the treaties existing between the Paramount Power and the 
Princes. So far as British India is concerned, we have to see 
that no arrangement is to come affecting it, which admits to 
any voice in our Councils any Prince who retains absolute 
power within his own State, or who is not ruling on lines sim- 
ilar to those adopted within British India. Nor must any 
have authority in British India, which is not also possessed 
over his State hy British India. (ii) With regard to any 
Central Imperial Authority, whatever it may be, India must 
have a position commensurate with her importance in the Em- 
pire, otherwise she will be ruled by the United Kingdom and the 
Dominions in all Imperial matters, and may be turned into a 
plantation, with her industrial development strangled. If, as 
is suggested, the War Council should evolve into the Central 
Authority, then its powers should be' confined to questions of 
Imperial Defence. No other question should be introduced with- 
out being referred to the Self-Governing Nations composing 
the Empire, and, if one Nation objects to it, the question must 
remain excluded. Each such Nation must exercise complete 
control over its own tariff and fiscus — as indeed the present 
Dominions now exercise it — subject to a charge for Imperial 

The visit to India of the Chief Secretary of State makes it 


necessary that we should formulate very definitely what we 
demand. For it is now clear that legislation is on the anvil, 
and we must take Mr. Bonar Law's advice and strike while the 
iron is hot. 

With regard to our New Objective, I suggest that we should 
ask the British Government to pass a Bill during 1918 establish- 
ing Self-Government in India on the lines resembling those of 
the Commonwealth of Australia to come into force at the date 
laid down therein, preferably 1923, at the latest 1928, inter- 
mediate five or ten years being occupied with the transference 
of Government from British to Indian hands, maintaining Brit- 
ish ties as in the Dominions. Transference may be made in 
stages, beginning with some such scheme as that of the Con- 
gress-League, with its widened electorate, the essentials being 
half the Executive Councils being elected by elected members of 
legisuatures, the control of the purse and a substantial majority 
in the Supreme and Provincial Councils. "We asked first for 
the representation which was supposed to give influence. This 
has proved useless. Now we ask for partnership in the governing 
of India — the Government to have power of dissolution and.veto, 
the people to have the power of the purse. This is the second 
stage in the partnership of equal co-operation. The third stage 
will be that of complete Home Rule to come automatically in 
1923 or 1928. 

The Seceetaby of State for India 

The year 1917 will ever remain memorable in Indian history 
for the sudden change in the policy of Great Britain towards 
India. The swiftness of the change is marvellous, almost in- 
credible even to us who have striven for it. On August 20th, 
the first demand of last year's Congress was granted in sub- 
stance though not in form; we asked for a Royal Proclamation, 
because that was the most gracious and impressive form and 
would have made our Emperor yet more popular; we have 
been given an announcement by the Cabinet of Great Britain, 
representing the Royal Will. 

The Right Hon. the Secretary of State is now among us, 
with other well-known public men from the United Kingdom. 
At this stage, nought can be said of the outcome of the visit. 
But I may rightly place on record the fact that free and full 
speech has been granted to India's representatives, with friendly 
and patient hearing from H. E. the Viceroy and from Mr. Mon- 

There has been no shutting out of opinions hostile to the 
present bureaucratic system of Government, for Lokamanya 
Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, and I myself were severally granted 
full hearing; similar liberty was given to prominent members 


of the Congress and Muslim League. The Home Rule Leagues 
were treated equally well. 

The outcome is on the lap of the Gods. We know the strength 
of the vested interests opposed to us, but we have faith in the 
Justice of God, and in the friendliness of all Britons who are 
true to the traditions of their country. The wish of organised 
labour in Great Britain to exchange fraternal delegates with 
the Congress and Home Rule Leagues is a sign of the new 
Brotherhood between the British and Indian Democratics. The 
Home Rule Leagues have appointed Mr. Baptista as their frater- 
nal delegate to the Annual Labour Conference next month, and 
Major Graham Pole comes to us from them. I trust that the 
Congress will also nominate its fraternal delegates to the 
Labour Conference, and welcome its messenger to us, and that 
a link will thus be formed which will draw closer together 
the United Kingdom and India. For this, as well as for the com- 
ing of the Secretary of State to India, will 1917 be marked as 
a red-letter year. 

OuB Interned Brothers 
It is with deep sorrow that we record the non-release of the 
Muslim leaders, Muhammad All and Shaukat Ali. For three- 
and-a-quarter long years they have been withdrawn from public 
life, and condemned to the living death of internment. To high- 
spirited and devoted patriots, no punishment could be more gall- 
ing and more exasperating. Even had they sinned deeply the 
penalty has been paid, and we, who believe in their innocence 
and honour them for their fidelity to their religion, can only 
lay at their feet the expression of our affectionate admiration, 
and our assurance that their long-drawn-out suffering will be 
transmuted into power, when the doors are thrown open to 
them, and they receive the homage of the Nation. 

Our Divisions 

Many observers of Indian public life have noted the fissiparous 
tendency in our political associations, and reactionaries make 
this a reason for denying to us constitutional liberty. Rightly con- 
sidered it is a reason for granting it, though to some this state- 
ment may seem paradoxical. But what is the position? 

We have a Nation, composed of many communities and opin- 
ions, trying to obtain liberty. We have, above it, a Government, 
holding all power and all patronage, and able to crush by 
Executive Orders those whom it considers to be advocates of 
excessive changes. It tends to ally itself with any party or 
community which will help it to stave off legislation that dimin- 
ishes its powers. Its natural tendency is to watch for any sign 
of fission, and to ally itself with the weaker party to crush 
the stronger, as did the East India Company in its so-called 


"conquest of India." If there be no sign of fission, it may be 
possible to initiate one, on the lines of the despatch to Lord 
Lytton when Viceroy of India with regard to a desired War: 
"If there be no pretext, you must invent one." A similar 
policy was followed when Dadabhai Naoroji was sent to the 
British Parliament; Mr. Bhownagri was set up against him, 
and succeeded in ousting a strong reformer and replacing him 
by a reactionery. No political situation could be more un- 

First, take the two great communities of Hindus and Musal- 
mans. They form two natural parties in the Nations, with the 
Christian Government above them as the third party for whose 
favour they compete. Hence Hindu Musalman divisions, riots 
and the rest — which do not exist in Indian States, wherein the 
Ruler belongs to one of the two great religions, and has to 
rule men of both — and the constant efforts to dissolve the 
Entente Cordiale arrived at after long discussion at Calcutta 
and at Lucknow last year. 

There will always be a number in each community who do 
not feel themselves bound by any agreement come to by the or- 
ganised political bodies, containing the more reasonable and 
far seeing of each community; and these again, motived by 
bribe or threat, unofficial but made by officials, an unorganised 
and irresponsible crowd, will always land recruits to support 
the Government, in the hope of obtaining special concessions 
for their sectional interests. 

Hence, also, the anti-Brahmana movement in the Madras Presi- 
dency, v/ith its Association of a few hundred members and 
its three organs in the Press. It is now happily obscured by a 
real non-Brahmana Association, the Madras Presidency Asso- 
ciation, led by the veteran leaders, Dewan Bahadur P. Kesava 
Pillai, and already many thousands strong. The anti-Brahmana 
movement aims chiefly at places in the administration, and hopes 
to gain them more easily by praising the Government and op- 
posing Home Rulers. * 

Hence, also, various similar movements in other Provinces, 
any stick being good enough for beating the Home Rule dog. 

There is no need for anxiety about these divisions, which 
must alvrays present kaleidoscopic changes, so long as India 
is under the rule of an irresponsible Government. 

When the third, non-National party, no longer governs, the 
National parties will become grouped into healthy constituents 
of the body politic, distinguished by differences of principle. 
The use of power will create a sense of responsibility, and 
responsibility will bring about reasonable discipline. 

We make too much of these transitory difficulties and quar- 
rels, and give them an importance far beyond their real mis- 


chi6f-making power. They will assume their proper propor- 
tions when we have won Home Rule. 

Isolated Refobms 

I do not propose to dwell on the isolated Reforms for which 
the Congress has asked during the whole period of its existence. 
A list of the more important ones will be found as Appendix V. 
The majority of Congresssmen are tired of asking for the same 
thing over and over again, and feel that it is better to con- 
centrate on Home Rule, since, once the people have power, they 
can get rid of bad laws and make good ones for themselves. 

Indian Legislatures will take up the Congress Resolutions, 
and carry into law all that are applicable to the changed con- 
ditions. Free India will separate Executive from Judicial func- 
tions, and also separate Revenue Officers, Judiciary and Police, 
place the lower Judiciary under the High Court instead of the 
Executive, pass Education Acts, make trial by Jury general, 
protect her Emigrants and Indians settled abroad, deal with 
Land Settlement equitably, organise and develop Indian Indus- 
tries, examine for her Services within her own borders, re- 
organise her administration so as to abolish racial inequalities, 
and establish Military Colleges to fit her youth for Emperor's 

The whole of the special legislation against constitutional 
agitation — as understood in Great Britain — penalising writing 
and speech which do not incite to crime nor transgress the 
law of libel, will be swept away, as unworthy of a civilispd 
country. The Executive will be deprived of the power to punish 
without trial, to imprison, incarcerate, impoverish, deport, intern 
and extern, on secret police accusations and suspicions and con- 
fidential reports of magistrates. No man shall thus suffer 
without knowing his offence, nor be deprived of liberty without 
open trial and full opportunity of defence. Peaceful political 
propaganda, processions, flags and meetings will not be inter- 
fered with by Magistrates and Police Officers. In fact, India 
will once more enjoy the ordinary elementary human rights 
secured by Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights. 

Think of the joy of being a free man in a free country, the 
equal of other civilised men; of breathing in an India at last 
purged of the poisonous atmosphere of coercion; of knowing 
that liberty of person and safety of property cannot be touched 
save by open trial; that one cannot become a criminal uncon- 
sciously and at the whim of an Executive, shrouded in dark- 
ness; that one enjoys the ordinary liberty of a civilised human 
being in a country ruled by law alone, uninterfered with by 
arbitrary Executive Orders. That security can only come to us 
with Home Rule. 


Fellow-Delegates: Pardon me that I have kept you so long. 
Only once in my life can I take this Congress Chair, and speak 
my heart out to you on this country that we love so well. 
Who can tell, in the present keen strife, if I shall be left free 
to speak to you again, to work with you as your leader, during 
this coming year of office. If I am allowed to carry on my work 
then I crave your help during the coming year. You have trusted 
me enough to elect me as your President; trust me enough 
to work with me as your President, until I prove false to your 
trust. You cannot always agree with me, and I do not shrink 
from your criticism. I only ask you not to take for granted 
the truth of everything said against me by my enemies, for I 
cannot spare time to answer them. I cannot promise to please 
you always, but I can promise to strive my best to serve the 
Nation, as I judge of service. I cannot promise to agree with 
and to follow you always; the duty of a leader is to lead. 
While he should always consult his colleagues and listen to their 
advice, the final responsibility before the public must be his, 
and his, therefore, the final decision. A general should see fur- 
ther than his officers and his army, and cannot explain, while 
battles are going on, every move in a campaign; he is to be 
justified or condemned by his results. Up till now, knowing 
myself to be of this Nation only by love and service, not by 
birth, I have claimed no authority of leadership, but have only 
fought in the front of the battle and served as best I might. 
Now, by your election, I take the place which you have given, 
and will strive to fill it worthily. 

Enough of myself. Let us think of the Mother. 

To see India free, to see her hold up her head among the 
Nations, to see her sons and daughters respected everywhere, 
to see her worthy of her mighty Past, engaged in building a 
yet mightier Future — is not this worth working for, worth 
suffering for, worth living and worth dying for? Is there any 
other land which evokes such love for her spirituality, such 
admiration for her literature, such homage for her valour, as 
this glorious Mother of Nations, from whose womb went forth 
the races that now, in Europe and America, are leading the 
world? And has any land suffered as our India has suffered, 
since her sword was broken on Kurukshetra, and the peoples of 
Europe and of Asia swept across her borders, laid waste her 
cities, and discrowned her Kings. They came to conquer, but 


they remained to be absorbed. At last, out of those mingled 
peoples, the Divine Artificer has welded a Nation, compact not 
only of her own virtues, but also of those her foes had brought 
to her, and gradually eliminating the vices which they had also 

After a history of millennia, stretching far back out of the 
ken of mortal eye; having lived with, but not died with, the 
mighty civilisations of the Past; having seen them rise and 
flourish and decay, until only their sepulchres remained, deep 
buried in earth's crust; having wrought, and triumphed and 
suffered, and having survived all changes unbroken; India, 
who has been verily the Crucified among Nations, now stands 
on this her Resurrection morning, the Immortal, the Glorious, 
the Ever Young; and India shall soon be seen, proud and self- 
reliant, strong and free, the radiant Splendour of Asia, as the 
Light and the Blessing of the World. 

Feom the Pbesident of the National Congress to the People 

OF Indla. 

Beothebs and Sisters: — We are living in a time when great 
changes are being made all over the world. And, as a result, 
methods are adopted which have the heroic simplicity and direct- 
ness of the elder times. Our Viceroy, the Representative of our 
beloved King-Emperor, remembering his Sovereign's words that 
sympathy was lacking in the Indian administration, has come 
out from his aloof isolation, and, like an ancient King, is trav- 
elling around these Immense dominions, to discover for him- 
self what the people want. And with him comes from far-off 
Britain a special Messenger from the Throne itself, one of His 
Majesty's Ministers, to bring us the Emperor's Love and Justice: 
Love, that shall win us to forget what we have suffered; Justice, 
that shall offer to us the Rights which other Peoples have had 
to wrench by force from the fists of Sovereigns less wise, and 
less observant of the high Dharma of a Nation's Ruler. 

What does this Justice mean to the highly educated classes of 
the Indian people? It means that they will have power placed in 
their hands to carry out the resolutions which they have been 
passing in the National Congress for three-and-thirty years. They 
will pass an Elementary Education Bill which, in the words of the 
Japanese Emperor, will leave no ignorant family in a village, no. 
ignorant member in a family. They will so deal with the tarifs 
that the bounties given exclusively to India by Nature will bring 
to her from foreign nations the wealth she needs to improve her 
own people, for the advantages given by Nature should fall back 
upon the people as fertilising rain on the parched field. They will 
abolish the coercive legislation which has been invented to crush 
out expressions of righteous discontent, discontent due to the 


wrong methods and mistakes inevitable under the rule of a 
foreign bureaucracy, alien in language, customs, habits, from the 
people whom they rule. To the highly educated classes. Justice 
means heavy responsibility and strenuous exertion, with the joy 
of rendering happy and prosperous the people from whom they 
have sprung, the relatives in hundreds of thousands of villages in 
which their ancient families have lived for uncounted generations. 
"Born of the people, how should they not serve the people?" for 
India has no classes, separated from each other by dividing gulfs, 
such as exist in the West between the noble in the castle and the 
peasant in the cottage. 

What does Justice mean to the active, out-of-door class, the 
class that, if poor, now goes into the Army and the Police or, if 
noble, would go into them if they offered a career to Indians, the 
inborn warrior class, that is restless and discontented, because its 
surging energies seek action? To them, often now the "naughty 
boys" of families, it opens up a career suited to them, in an 
Indian Army and Navy and Police, composed of Indians and 
officered by Indians, in which the bravest and the best disciplined, 
showing powers of leadership, shall have an open road to the 
highest posts of command, the very qualities which now cause dis- 
turbance being yoked to service of the motherland, her protectors 
against foreign aggression, her guardians against disorder within. 

What does Justice mean to the merchant class? It means 
markets in which wealth shall repay exertion, in which Lakshmi 
Devi, the Angel of Plenty, shall crown the labours of her ser- 
vants. The class which guides and co-ordinates industry gath- 
ering together its products and distributing them over India 
and over the whole world, which shall welcome into its ranks 
the shrewd brains and keen insight scattered over India, like 
jewels embedded in matrices of lesser value — this class shall 
be the steward and distributors of the wealth of the Nation, 
the backbone of National prosperity. Into it shall flow, of those 
whose inborn talent fit them for this great branch of National 
Service, on which more perhaps, than on any other, the gen- 
eral prosperity of Nations ever depends. 

What does justice mean to the huge masses of the people, 
now toiling without hope, and suffering without relief, the masses 
who now labor that others may enjoy, who create wealth which 
they do not share, the producers, whether of food, or of articles 
of necessary use, or of pleasure? They see the food stream 
outwards while their families are left hungry, the products of 
their hands going to others while their cottages are void of 
comfort. To them Justice means that the laborers' food and 
seed for the next sowing shall be the first charges, on the 
crops his toil has raised; that the Panchayat shall be 
re-established, so that he shall manage his own village busi- 
ness; that the village officials shall again be village servants 


instead of village tyrants; that he shall have replaced in his 
village the village school, teaching his boys and girls that they 
may become more clever and useful in village life; and that 
any boy or girl cleverer than others may be able to go on to 
higher schools, a way being opened also from these to the Uni- 
versity, less painful and hard than that now existing. 

For what is Justice? It is giving to every man his birthright, 
and that birthright is Freedom, Swaraj, Home Rule. 

Friends, will you work with my colleagues and myself to 
win this Home Rule, which will make India happy within her 
own borders, and great among the Nations of the world? Will 
you not work with us for your own liberty, and for the liberty 
of your children after you? India is linked with Great Britain 
by the good Will of God, who would knit East and West together 
for the welfare of the whole world. The tie is now a tie of 
force; let us make it a tie of love. But a tie of love can only 
come when India is free, a willing Partner in the Empire, and 
not a Dependency. Stand up like men; speak out like men. 
Then shall your voices, ringing across the ocean, reach Britain, 
the Mother of free institutions in the West, and she greet a 
sister India, the Mother of free institutions in the East, who 
sent out to the West her sons and daughters to build up free- 
dom there, so that now, together, they might build a mighty 
Commonwealth of Free Nations, and bring happiness to man- 

Annie Besant. 

December, 1917. 


Krotona, Holljrwood, Los Angeles, Cah 

19 18 




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